UN: Ebola emergency response mission will miss containment target

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
By Paul Martin

In Sierra Leone, agency will miss aim of 70 percent of patients under treatment and 70 percent of dead buried

November 25, 2014

The United Nations’ Ebola Emergency Response Mission will miss a Dec. 1 target for containing the virus due to escalating numbers of cases in Sierra Leone, the head of the agency has said.

The mission set the goal in September of having 70 percent of Ebola patients under treatment and 70 percent of victims safely buried. That target will be achieved in some areas, Anthony Banbury told Reuters on Monday, citing progress in Liberia.

“We are going to exceed the Dec. 1 targets in some areas. But we are almost certainly going to fall short in others. In both those cases, we will adjust to what the circumstances are on the ground,” he said in an interview.

The death toll in the worst Ebola epidemic on record has risen to 5,459 out of 15,351 cases identified in eight countries by Nov. 18, the World Health Organization said last Friday. Almost all those cases are in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Banbury said the areas of greatest concern are in rural parts of Sierra Leone as well as the city of Makeni in the center of the country and Port Loko in the northwest and the capital Freetown.

To combat rural cases, health workers need to deploy rapid response units complete with specialists and equipment that can be flown by helicopter to remote villages at the first sign of the disease’s spread, he said.

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