An advance team of the newly established UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response
(UNMEER) arrives in Accra today to Jump start UNMEER operations to contain the Ebola Virus.
Leading UNMEER is Anthony Banbury, who also serves as the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative. He is responsible for coordinating all UN activities geared toward containing the spread of the Ebola virus. UNMEER will have its headquarters in Accra with offices in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three West African countries at the epicenter of the Ebola virus outbreak.
Branbury will provide the operational framework and leadership to ensure that rapid, effective and coherent measures are taken to stop the Ebola spread.
On his arrival at Kotoka International Airport, Banbury will address a press conference during which he is expected to throw light on UNMEER’s role in treating the infected populations, and reinforcing essential services. He is also expected to lay out the strategies to ensure that the disease does not spread to other countries in the region which are still Ebola free.
The governments of the Ebola effected countries, along with their national agencies and many international organizations are concentrated on breaking the rate of transmission within the three countries.
The three effected countries have already launched strategic plans for accelerated response to the EVD outbreak. Their plans are aligned to the inter-country strategy for accelerated response
to the outbreak, adopted in the Accra Ministerial meeting.
Here in Liberia, the National Ebola Taskforce is working in sync with the American Center for Disease Control, Medicine San Frontier, Samaritan’s Purse and many other national and international NGOs and institutions to contain the Ebola scourge.
At the last count on September 23, it was reported that about 1,830 Liberians have died from the EVD while there are 3,458 suspected and confirmed cases.
It is expected that the launch and subsequent implementation of UNMEER and inter-country strategic plans will bring a decrease in the transmission and death rates and scale up effective outbreak containment measures at field level.
Recently in Sierra Leone, a three day national lockdown was enforced to help fetch out suspected and confirmed Ebola patients in that West African state. At the end of that intervention, Sierra Leone authorities declared the lockdown a success in terms of sensitizing their population about the infectious nature of the disease.
The establishment of UNMEER last week follows the unanimous adoption of UN General Assembly resolution 69/1 to provide a platform for wide-ranging international efforts to put an end to the spread of the disease.
Following his stop in Accra, Mr. Banbury is expected to visit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.