Australia's commitment to fight Ebola welcomed by UN health agency

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Community health volunteers with Ebola prevention kits walking through West Point in Monrovia, Liberia. Morgana Wingard/UNDP

The government of Australia's commitment to provide health professionals and more funding to boost the fight against the Ebola virus disease has been welcomed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The agency says Australia will contract with a private health service provider to manage and run an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone.

It is part of a British-led plan to open a series of large treatment centres in the country.

Australia will also send a contingent of international staff to support local health care workers in the treatment centres.

WHO says that lack of access to treatment beds has meant many people with Ebola virus disease have remained in the community, thus increasing the likelihood of transmitting the virus.

According to WHO, of the more than 4,700 Ebola treatment centre beds needed in the three heavily affected West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, only 22 per cent are currently operational.

Nearly 5,000 people have died from Ebola and more than 10,000 people have been infected with the virus in the three countries.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration:   1’08″

 

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