Gains made to end Ebola could be lost unless job completed

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Health worker in Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/Bindra

Gains made fighting the Ebola outbreak could be lost unless the job is completed.

That's the message of caution the UN Secretary-General said he was delivering to the international community on Tuesday, at a General Assembly meeting in New York.

More than 11,000 people have died from the highly infectious disease since it began to spread more than a year ago.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

While Liberia was declared Ebola-free on 9 May after 42 days with no new cases, Guinea and Sierra Leone continue to record new transmissions.

For this reason, the UN chief highlighted that the international community cannot yet celebrate.

Ban Ki-moon said as long as there are Ebola cases in any country in the region, all of them are at risk.

Overall case figures are significantly lower than early this year and last year – but we know that setbacks can follow. Community engagement and active surveillance are essential. Any lapse in vigilance could allow the virus to spread.

Mr Ban added that the UN system will work with governments and regional partners to ensure all investments in fighting Ebola serve as the basis for carrying out longer-term recovery and for strengthening national health systems.

Next month, he is convening an International Ebola Recovery Conference, which will help mobilize the resources needed to start early recovery.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1'07"

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