• Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ebola crisis: WB announces $200m emergency fund

BBC Online
A Samaritan's Purse medical personnel demonstrates personal protective equipment to educate team members on the Ebola virus in Liberia in this undated handout photo courtesy of Samaritan's Purse. An isolation unit for Ebola victims in Liberia's capital is overrun with cases and health workers are being forced to treat up to 20 new patients in their homes, government officials said on July 30, 2014. Photo: Reuters
A Samaritan's Purse medical personnel demonstrates personal protective equipment to educate team members on the Ebola virus in Liberia in this undated handout photo courtesy of Samaritan's Purse. An isolation unit for Ebola victims in Liberia's capital is overrun with cases and health workers are being forced to treat up to 20 new patients in their homes, government officials said on July 30, 2014. Photo: Reuters

The World Bank has announced that it is allocating $200m (£120m) in emergency assistance for West African countries battling to contain the Ebola outbreak.

The money will be distributed to the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea as well as to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The number of people killed in the outbreak has reached 887, the WHO says.

The World Bank's announcement came as African leaders including 35 presidents discuss the crisis in Washington.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim - an expert on infectious diseases - said that he was "deeply saddened" by the spread of the virus and how it was contributing to the breakdown of "already weak health systems in the three countries".

"I am very worried that many more lives are at risk unless we can stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks," he said.

The BBC's Paul Blake in Washington says that in the short term, the money will be used to pay health workers, dispel rumours about the disease in local communities and address the immediate needs of getting sick people into health facilities.

Over the long term, our correspondent says, the funds will be used to help countries deal with the economic impact of the outbreak and to monitor the spread of the disease.

The package is now awaiting approval by the World Bank's Board of Directors, though officials say the confirmation could come as early as this week.

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund say preliminary research suggests the epidemic is likely to shave one percentage point from Guinea's economic output this year.

Some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion is revealed in this undated handout colorised transmission electron micrograph (TEM) August 1, 2014. Photo: Reuters
Some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion is revealed in this undated handout colorised transmission electron micrograph (TEM) August 1, 2014. Photo: Reuters

The virus spreads by contact with infected blood and bodily fluids.

Touching the body of someone who has died of Ebola is particularly dangerous.

The evacuation of the second US health worker to become infected in Liberia is expected later.

Nancy Writebol will be flown to Atlanta in the US to a special isolation ward at Emory University Hospital, where Dr Kent Brantly, who arrived from Liberia on Saturday, is being treated by infectious disease specialists

On Friday, Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organization, met the leaders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to launch a new $100m (£59m) Ebola response plan.

Samaritan's Purse medical personnel spray disinfectant on a person who died from the Ebola virus in the Case Management Center in Foya, Liberia in this undated handout photo courtesy of Samaritan's Purse. An isolation unit for Ebola victims in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, is overrun with cases and health workers are being forced to treat up to 20 new patients in their homes, government officials said on July 30, 2014. Photo: Reuters
Samaritan's Purse medical personnel spray disinfectant on a person who died from the Ebola virus in the Case Management Center in Foya, Liberia in this undated handout photo courtesy of Samaritan's Purse. An isolation unit for Ebola victims in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, is overrun with cases and health workers are being forced to treat up to 20 new patients in their homes, government officials said on July 30, 2014. Photo: Reuters

According to the UN, more than 60 of the Ebola deaths so far have been health care workers.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola - but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment.

The current outbreak is killing between 50% and 60% of people infected.

Published: 2:35 pm Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Last modified: 9:52 pm Tuesday, August 05, 2014

TAGS: World Health Organization (WHO) Ebola outbreak World Bank (WB) West African countries

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