UN Ebola envoy: Survivors are "priority number one"

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David Nabarro. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Although the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has declined in recent months, it is not completely over, says the official leading the UN's response to the illness.

Dr David Nabarro on Wednesday reported on positive trends from countries in the region, but also ongoing risks.

More than 11,300 people have died from the Ebola virus since the outbreak began in March 2014.

Dianne Penn reports.

The Ebola outbreak mostly affected Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Transmission of the virus has stopped in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and Dr Nabarro said both countries are now observing a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance.

The news in Guinea was also "positive" as the country has begun a countdown to mark 42 days since its last confirmed case.

However, Dr Nabarro said his "priority number one" is the 15,000 people who contracted Ebola and survived.

"And so what I want to be sure every person can access a comprehensive package of care that help them and that help their communities. That means that all those who've survived need to be helped to maintain hygiene, and also if they're men, to practice safe sex. They need proper counselling and follow-up testing. They need eye care because we know that vision can suffer after Ebola. They need medical support; often they have terrible joint pains. They need sexual health assistance, they need psychosocial support and sometimes they need economic support. And so trying to make sure that survivors and their families can access the support they need is my priority number one."

The UN Special Envoy on Ebola said his second priority is to ensure that all affected countries can rapidly respond in the event of any resurgence or new cases.

His final priority was to honour those who died in the Ebola outbreak by making sure that "the world can deal with this kind of problem better in the future."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’55″

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November 2017
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