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EBOLA: ‘DISASTER OF OUR GENERATION’

by AFP and Genalyn D. Kabiling October 20, 2014 Aid agency Oxfam said in London over the weekend that Ebola could become the “definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation,” as President Aquino sought to raise public awareness on the deadly disease without causing undue panic here in the country.

 

Oxfam Chief Executive Mark Goldring warned that the world was “in the eye of a storm” as his organization – which works in the two worst-hit countries (Liberia and Sierra Leone) – called for more troops, funding and medical staff to be sent to tackle the West African epicenter of the epidemic.

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EBOLA DISASTER (AFP) — A Liberian health worker holds a baby infected with the Ebola virus on Saturday at the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) Ebola treatment center in Monrovia. The world’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak has killed over 4,500 people in West Africa, more than half of the number of those infected.

“We cannot allow Ebola to immobilize us in fear, but… countries that have failed to commit troops, doctors and enough funding are in danger of costing lives,” he said.

The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly virus has so far killed more than 4,500 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but isolated cases have now begun to appear in Europe and the United States.

“The Ebola crisis could become the definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation,” a spokesperson for the British-based charity said as it appealed for EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to do more.

In Manila, while the country remains free from Ebola, Aquino wanted the Department of Health (DOH) to raise public awareness about the disease to avoid infection amid the rising death toll from the outbreak in other parts of the world, said his communications secretary.

“We are taking the necessary measures to raise the awareness and knowledge of our citizens because being informed and calm, not worried and panicking, should be the proper response,” Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny B. Coloma said in Filipino over Radyo ng Bayan yesterday.

CALM, NOT PANIC

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier cautioned against undue panic over Ebola, saying it was causing economic losses beyond the Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa. Concerned that Ebola rumors are spreading faster than the virus, WHO director-general Margaret Chan said she has never seen a health event strike such fear and terror beyond the outbreak zones.

US President Barack Obama made the same call as he urged against “hysteria” after a day after he named an “Ebola czar” to coordinate Washington’s response; and the World Bank said the battle against the disease was being lost.

“This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear – because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need. We have to be guided by the science,” Obama said.

PH TO TRAIN FOR EBOLA

To protect the country from the potential threat of the disease, Coloma assured the public that the DOH will conduct specialized training programs for health workers on how to detect and treat Ebola cases and prevent its spread in the country.

The training sessions to medical workers will be implemented with the help of the WHO starting October 28.

Coloma said the training program, which is part of the DOH’s preparedness plan against Ebola, includes manuals on case detection and reporting, outbreak management and response, surveillance at points of entry, case management, interagency coordination, planning, and resource allocation.

“Ang mga hakbang na isinasagawa ng DOH ay nakaayon sa komprehensibong istratehiya ng WHO (These steps taken by the DOH are in line with the comprehensive strategy of the WHO),” Coloma said.

He said the elements of the anti-Ebola strategy are infection prevention control, contact tracing, case management, surveillance, laboratory capacity, safe burial, public awareness and community engagement, and national legislation and regulation to support country readiness.

BRING OFWS HOME

Last week, the President vowed to keep Filipinos here and abroad safe and healthy from the outbreak of Ebola virus.

The government is already preparing to bring home Filipino workers in Ebola-hit countries in West Africa by mid-November. At least 1,755 Filipinos are working in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

“The focus of our government is on the health and safety of our countrymen who are right there, in the center of the epidemic. This is why we have ordered concerned government agencies to properly prepare, and systematically and scientifically evacuate our countrymen to distance them from the danger of the Ebola virus disease,” Coloma said.

source: http://www.mb.com.ph/ebola-disaster-of-our-generation/

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