UN Secretary-General appoints UN system Coordinator for Ebola

Accra, 12 August, 2014 – The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon is urging the international community to respond urgently to the shortage of doctors, nurses and equipment, including protective clothing and isolation tents to help curtail the further spread of the Ebola virus.

At a press briefing in New York today, the UN Secretary-General said three steps are essentially urgent to bring an end to the outbreak in West Africa.

First, addressing the severe lack of capacity in the most severely affected countries is crucial. Second, a coordinated international response is essential and the UN system will further strengthen the way it is dealing with the outbreak. Third, avoiding panic and fear can go a long way to successfully bring the disease under control like it was previously in other African countries.

According to the UN Secretary-General, Ebola can be prevented. “With resources, knowledge, early action and will, people can survive the disease” he noted.

He said Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have only recently returned to political stability following years of conflict that destroyed or disabled their health systems and therefore they require the assistance control the spread of the disease.

The UN Secretary-General, in close coordination with Dr. Margaret Chan of WHO, has designated Dr. David Nabarro as Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease. Dr. Nabarro will be responsible for ensuring that the United Nations system makes an effective and coordinated contribution to the global effort to control the outbreak of Ebola.

The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a public health emergency of international concern announcing today that the death toll has surpassed 1,000.