WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Chan announces launch of $100 million Ebola response plan to prevent spread of virus

U.N. World Health Organization head Margaret Chan met with presidents of countries affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa last week to launch a $100 million joint response plan to bring the outbreak under control.

Chan said the "unprecedented" outbreak has resulted in the deaths of more than 700 citizens and local health workers in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, could potentially devastate the international community, according to a U.N. press release.

"[T]he situation in West Africa is of international concern and must receive urgent priority for decisive action at national and international levels," Chan said. "Experiences in Africa over nearly four decades tell us clearly that, when well-managed, an Ebola outbreak can be stopped."

The Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan points to the need for additional health professionals, specifically doctors, nurses, logisticians, data managers and epidemiologists, to be deployed to affected countries to assist in relief efforts.

The plan also calls for increased surveillance mapping, particularly near border areas, and laboratory-based diagnostic testing for suspected cases, as well as additional safety measures for health workers.

"Ebola outbreaks can be contained," Chan said. "Chains of transmission can be broken. Together, we must do so."

WHO will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the situation in West Africa is a "public health emergency of international concerns," and if so, it will recommend appropriate measures to prevent the international spread of the virus.