Ebola spread is largely associated with cultural practices and beliefs contrary to recommended public health preventive measures.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, on Monday called for urgent, collective cross-border and multi-sectoral concrete actions to bring an end to the on-going Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
This was disclosed in a statement by the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Luis Sambo, in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the statement, Mr. Sambo made the call at the opening session of the Emergency Ministerial meeting on Ebola Virus Disease in Accra.
He urged ministers of health of the affected countries to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to contain the outbreak.
“Your leadership is critical in ensuring that preventive and containment measures are effectively implemented in your countries. To this end, I would like to stress the need to redeploy human resources and reallocate funds to facilitate operations in affected communities,” Mr. Sambo said.
He said the continuing spread of the Ebola virus was largely associated with some cultural practices and beliefs which were contrary to recommended public health preventive measures.
The director said that in addition, the extensive movement of people within and across borders had facilitated a rapid spread of the infection across and within three countries.
He underscored the need to inform, involve, and engage community, religious and opinion leaders to be at the forefront of the response efforts.
Mr. Sambo also called for improved communication between governments, partners and communities in order to generate reliable evidence for the implementation of effective and relevant actions. He urged the research community to address the research gap on Ebola disease prevention and control.
Mr. Sambo appealed to President John Mahama, as current President of ECOWAS, to mobilise financial resources to support communities and countries affected by the Ebola virus disease.
The statement credited Sherry Ayittey, the Minister of Health of Ghana, as saying, “We are here to make a real difference, a difference that will be felt beyond this room for millions of people in dire need for solutions. We have a small window of opportunity to prevent the outbreak of Ebola from spreading further.”
The Ebola virus first struck human beings in 1976 in Yambuku, a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo along River Ebola.
Since then, more than 20 Ebola outbreaks have occurred mainly in East and Central African countries.