SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

U.N.: Ebola nations need a more preventive strategy

As the worldwide Ebola outbreak worsens, United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Martin Sajdik said Thursday that he wants measures in place to ensure that responses circle back to long-term efforts to strengthen health systems in affected countries.

“We have to get the response right,” Sajdik said. “Whenever possible, donors should be responsive to the financial needs defined by the government, including salary support for civil servants and front-line health care workers. This will allow us to build health systems capable of responding to emergencies and of withstanding shocks such as Ebola.”

Sajdik said the efforts by health workers and the governments of the affected countries -- namely Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali -- have been tremendous. He also said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. response through the Mission for Ebola Emergency Response also has been very positive.

Moving forward, ECOSOC plans to contribute to the process of defining a coordinated and comprehensive response protocol to minimize future outbreaks on economic and social levels.

Additionally, Sajdik said the U.N. system, under the leadership of the Secretary-General, should conduct a comprehensive study on the worldwide economic and social impact of the Ebola outbreak. This study would build on previous work done by the Economic Commission for Africa, the World Bank and the U.N. Development Programme.

“This study, to be considered by the council in a follow-up meeting in 2015, could be part of a wider examination of all aspects of the impact of the Ebola outbreak,” Sajdik said. “This study could also be considered by other relevant United Nations bodies.”

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