WHO expects Guinea to announce end of Ebola outbreak

Lara Adejoro

The World Health Organisation says it expects the government of Guinea to announce the end of its Ebola outbreak on Saturday.

Speaking during the virtual media briefing on COVID-19 on Friday, the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that Guinea was one of three countries that were affected by the devastating West African Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015.

He said “Tomorrow, we expect the government of Guinea to announce the end of its Ebola outbreak. 

“I would like to offer my congratulations to Guinea and the health workers who helped to contain the outbreak at very high personal risk.

“Thank you also to our partners who provided financial and technical support.

“As you know, Guinea was one of three countries that were affected by the devastating West African Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015. 

“Thanks to the lessons learned from that outbreak and new tools including vaccines, Guinea managed to contain the outbreak in just four months, and prevent it from spreading beyond its borders,” Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO chief said nearly 11,000 people were vaccinated against Ebola but the work is far from over. 

“We must continue to support survivors and monitor their health, without creating stigma.

“Our teams are also finalising a 90-day post-epidemic resilience plan to support local health authorities, health workers and communities,” he said.

He noted that this success shows how an outbreak can be brought under control with the combination of community engagement, effective public health measures and the equitable use of vaccines.

“COVID-19 is a different disease that spreads more easily than Ebola, but the approach is the same.

“And yet even after 18 months, the ineffective use of public health and social measures, increased social mixing and vaccine inequity continue to give COVID-19 an opportunity to mutate, spread, and kill.

“The global failure to share vaccines equitably is fuelling a two-track pandemic that is now taking its toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

“Every region has countries that are now facing a steep increase in cases and deaths.

“Many countries in Latin America have rapidly increasing epidemics, and others have plateaued at a high level,” he said.

According to him, cases have increased by 52 percent just in the past week, and deaths have increased by 32 percent and things are expected to get worse.

“Less than one percent of Africa’s population has been vaccinated.

“Vaccines donated next year will be far too late for those who are dying today or being infected today, or at risk today. 

“Our global targets are to vaccinate at least 10 percent of the population of every country by September, at least 40 percent by the end of the year, and 70 percent by the middle of next year.

“These are the critical milestones we must reach together to end the pandemic,” he said. 

He added that more than half of all high- and upper-middle-income countries and economies have now administered enough doses to fully vaccinate at least 20 percent of their populations and just three out of 79 low- and lower-middle-income countries have reached the same level.

“We very much appreciate the vaccine donations announced by the G7 and others. And we thank those countries including the United States that have committed to sharing doses in June and July.

“We urge others to follow suit. We need vaccines to be donated now to save lives,” the WHO chief said.

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