15 August 2014

Canada sends experimental vaccine after WHO-convened ethics panel endorses use of experimental drugs in fight against Ebola outbreak

On 8 August, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa an international public health emergency, saying: ‘our collective health security’ depends on urgent support for containment in the affected countries. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan declared ‘the current outbreak of the Ebola a public health emergency of international concern’. Although the disease is only affecting a small part of the African continent, there is ‘a clear call for international solidarity’ to boost the capacity of the countries currently affected. According to the WHO, between 10 and 11 August, 128 new cases of Ebola virus disease, as well as 56 deaths, were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, bringing the total number of cases to 1,975 and deaths to 1,069.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened a UN system-wide coordination meeting in response to the Ebola outbreak, which is now affecting more than 1 million people. He stressed the need for the entire UN system to support the WHO’s efforts in combatting the outbreak, calling on the international community to respond urgently to the shortage of doctors, nurses and equipment, including protective clothing and isolation tents. He appointed Dr. David Nabarro as Senior UN System Coordinator for Ebola, in support of the work done by Dr. Chan and her team to counter the outbreak. Dr. Nabarro will be responsible for ensuring that the UN system makes an effective and coordinated contribution to the global effort to control the outbreak.

Canada announced it is sending up to a thousand doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to be distributed through the WHO in West Africa.

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Source: AlJazeera| Canada sends trial Ebola vaccine to W Africa
Source: UN News Centre | UN declares Ebola outbreak global ‘international public health emergency’
Source: UN News Centre | Ebola: UN health agency says more than 1 million people affected by outbreak
Source: UN News Centre | Ebola: WHO-convened ethics panel endorses use of experimental drugs

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