Ebola envoy "anxious" about disease flare-ups

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Medical personnel board a UN plane from Ghana to join the Ebola response in Liberia.
Credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret

The UN's top envoy against Ebola has said there are reasons "to feel good" about the way the disease has been targeted but there's still anxiety about the "enormity of the task ahead".

Dr David Nabarro said real progress had been made since September in the West African countries affected by Ebola.

But he added that the virus was still flaring up in western Sierra Leone and remote parts northern Guinea and could even spread to unaffected communities.

"We can't sit back and say the job is even partially done, because of this fear that we have all the time that as long as there is infection in a part of the total area that could easily spread; it could even spread to places where current infection levels are zero. And that keeps us very focused and sometimes quite anxious; every day we wake up and we realize the enormity of the job that still lies ahead."  (28″)

The UN expert said that thousands of people were still affected by the killer disease which continues to thrive in areas where communities are not "taking ownership of the problem".

A lack of treatment isolation centres in western Sierra Leone made the problem worse, Dr Nabarro said, but he anticipated that several hundred beds would be "coming on stream in coming weeks".

Dr Nabarro also made an appeal for more international health professionals to come forward to help.

He said 300 workers were needed for each 50-bed health clinic and for at least three months.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration:  1’27″

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