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The African Union will be receiving around USD 18.5 million from several nations including African countries to support the effort to tame the Ebola outbreak. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, about USD 600 million is needed to put the epidemic under control.
So far several nations have made pledges to support the fight against Ebola in West Africa; USD 10 million from the US, 5 million Euros from the European Union as well as USD 2 million from China. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also announced that it will commit USD 50 million to support the scale up of emergency efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and interrupt transmission of the virus.
Statements made during a meeting held on Monday September 8th 2014 indicated that the African Union will receive an assessment report from the mission that it sent to the affected countries which will help it develop a response plan.
“Women bear the brunt of this disease, as they are the ones who care for the sick, for children and family members and who prepare bodies for burial. They are therefore more likely to be infected by the disease, especially in the absence of protective clothing and access to health services. We are told that nearly 60 percent of Ebola deaths and infections are female, including nurses, cleaners and laundry workers,” said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
Zuma also called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to expedite the efforts on mobilizing more medication and vaccines to halt the spared of the virus.
“We also call on the scientific community and pharmaceutical companies, on the continent, in the Diaspora and elsewhere, to work together, even in the absence of a ‘business case’, as they say, for developing treatment and a vaccine,” Zuma said.
She further stated that the outbreak of the deadly virus has highlighted the weakness of the public health systems in African countries.
“The African Health Strategy 2007-2015 identified weak and under-resourced health systems as a major impediment to progress. This is particularly true for countries emerging from conflicts, which now have the added tragedy of health workers who have died or been infected, in situations of already severe shortages of health personnel,” she stated.
The need for getting the African Center for Disease Control operational more quickly so that the development of diseases can be tracked and effective coordinated responses implemented, was also highlighted.
During the end of last month, the African Union made a decision to declare Ebola a threat to peace and security in Africa and authorized the immediate deployment of an AU led military and civilian humanitarian mission to Ebola affected areas.