Ebola outbreak: Africa sets up $28.5m crisis fund – BBC News

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A billboard with a message about Ebola in Freetown, Liberia (8 November 2014)Of the West African countries hit by the 11-month outbreak, Liberia has seen the most deaths

Top African business leaders have established an emergency fund to help countries hit by the Ebola outbreak.

A pledging meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised $28.5m to deploy at least 1,000 health workers to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Experts say that if the disease is to be speedily contained, it needs to be tackled in these three countries.

Nearly 5,000 people out of about 14,000 cases have been killed by the virus, most of them in Liberia.

Ebola deaths in West Africa

Up to 4 November


Deaths – probable, confirmed and suspected

(Includes one death in US and one in Mali)

  • 2,766 Liberia

  • 1,130 Sierra Leone

  • 1,054 Guinea

  • 8 Nigeria

Speaking at the end of the Addis Abada meeting, African Union chairman Dlamini Zuma said the resources mobilised would be part of a longer term programme to deal with such outbreaks in the future.

The chairman of telecommunications giant Econet Wireless, Strive Masiyiwa, said that several companies had pledged money to the emergency fund – to be managed by the African Development Bank.

The Ethiopia meeting took place as Liberia was reported by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on Friday to have seen a significant reduction in the number of new cases.

It warned, however, that Ebola was still on the rise in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

‘Flare up’

Chris Stokes, the head of MSF’s Ebola response, told the BBC that the decrease in the number of cases in Liberia presented an opportunity for health workers to step up their work.

Ebola health care workers carry the body of a woman suspected of dying from the disease from a building used as a mortuary by the Bomi County Ebola Clinic on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia (7 November 2014)The World Health Organization says that at least one in five infections occur during the burials of Ebola victims – it issued a guide this week to how best to conduct funerals

US soldiers train foreign and local health workers in the management of Ebola at a treatment unit at Liberia's police academy in the capital Monrovia (7 November 2014)It is not clear why exactly the number of cases in Liberia has dipped – but it has been running an awareness campaign to advertise best health practices and install hand washing stations

But he said the disease could “flare up” again, pointing to Guinea, where the number of cases is rising again despite two significant lulls.

Of the West African countries hit by the 11-month outbreak, Liberia has seen the most deaths.

But last weekend its health ministry said two-thirds of the 696 beds in the country’s treatment centres were empty.

Liberia’s government has been running an awareness campaign, advertising the best health practices and installing hand washing stations at buildings across the country.

But despite significant contributions from the US, the UK, China and others, the head of the UN mission charged with fighting Ebola says more help is urgently needed.


Ebola deaths and new cases

map of areas affected by Ebola

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Ebola outbreak: Africa sets up $28.5m crisis fund – BBC News