UN appeals for $1 billion to fight Ebola

EbolaThe United Nations (UN) has launched an appeal to raise $1 billion to sustain the momentum to stamp out Ebola in West Africa.

The amount, the UN says is what is “needed for the first six months of 2015 to sustain the momentum to stamp out Ebola in West Africa, where ‘the epidemic has started to turn’ in all three of the worst-hit countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.”

“We’re beginning to see an overall decline in number of new cases each week,” Dr. David Nabarro, the UN Special Envoy on Ebola, told a news conference in Davos, Switzerland, at the 2015 World Economic Forum.

The appeal was launched by Ms. Amos Sawyerr and Dr. Nabarro.

The Ebola virus disease which was formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans, and it is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

The disease first broke out in remote villages in Central Africa near tropical rainforests, but the more recent outbreaks in some west African countries were in major urban as well as rural areas.

The average fatality rate is around 50%, but case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

The first Ebola case was reported in Guinea March 23, 2014 and since that outbreak, there have been outbreaks in five other countries in West Africa – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Nigeria and Mali. Some cases were reported in the US, and some European countries.

Since the outbreak there have been 21, 724 reported cases, 13, 610 laboratory confirmed cases and about 8,641 deaths.

While some people including children have survived Ebola, it’s hard to find complete figures on how many have survived, despite the inspiring stories some of them tell.

Three countries in West Africa, Senegal, Nigeria and Mali have been declared free of the disease.

There is currently no known cure for the disease, but two drugs are being tested.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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