The World Health Organization (WHO) is hopeful that the deadly Ebola virus disease is now becoming a thing of the past as its transmission rate has dropped drastically or stopped in the three most affected countries.
The WHO Representative to Liberia, Dr. Alex Gasasira, said on Monday, October 5th, that they are hopeful because Liberia achieved the criteria to be declared Ebola transmission free on September 3rd, while Sierra Leone is counting toward Ebola transmission-free declaration and the number of cases in Guinea is very low. A local daily reported that Guinea had recorded in the last few days at least six cases.
Dr. Gasasira spoke to journalists yesterday following the formal opening of a two-day phase-three regional surveillance meeting on infectious diseases including Ebola.
He said they gathered to look at surveillance on infectious diseases in the Mano River Union (MRU) basin, including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. These nations have been the worst-hit from the deadly Ebola virus disease, which killed more than 10,000 persons, with Liberia being the worst hit among the three.
The WHO Representative said that they are making sure that the three countries have the capacities to withstand future outbreaks of not only Ebola but other infectious diseases.
He stated that during the meeting, which ends today, they would be sharing knowledge and identifying those areas where they made gains in the fight against the virus and how they can build upon those successes and also identify challenges.
On EVD in the region, he stated: “Ebola is significantly reduced in the region; so we are very, very hopeful that we are at the end stage of this outbreak.”
On preparation, the UN specialized agency is making for the region to be capable to withstand future outbreaks, he said that one of their approaches toward achieving that feat for those nations is the surveillance meeting, “ensuring that any cases will be detected on time and be tackled on time; surveillance capacity is strengthened.”
Welcoming the guests to Liberia, Assistant Health Minister Chea Sanford Wesseh said that it was very important and timely to have representatives of the three worst-hit nations and other partners meeting to discuss eradicating EVD and maintaining zero in the region.
Asst. Min. Wesseh hoped that outcome from the meeting will tackle surveillance and help build resilient health systems in the region, including health information system.
Participants at the meeting came from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, WHO Geneva, MSF, UNICEF and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).