The World Health Organisation (WHO) has welcomed the decision by the United Nations General Assembly to establish the UN Mission for Ebola Emergence Response (UNMEER).
A statement issued by Tarik Jasarevic, WHO Spokesperson and copied to Ghana News Agency, at the weekend said nearly six months after the first case of Ebola in West Africa was reported, UN General Assembly and the Security Council have approved resolutions creating the UNMEER to contain the ongoing outbreak which has sickened more than 5,500 people and killed more than 2,500.
“This is not just a public health crisis. This is a social crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an economic crisis and a threat to national security well beyond the outbreak zones,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, to the UN Security Council.
“For these reasons, Mr Secretary-General and I are calling for a UN-wide initiative that draws together all the assets of all relevant UN agencies.”
This is the first time in history that the UN has created a mission for a public health emergency. The Mission would bring together the vast resources of the UN agencies, funds and programmes, to reinforce WHO’s technical expertise and experience in disease outbreaks.
While WHO plays a central role in leading the public health efforts for the response, the support of other UN agencies is essential to deal with the social, economic, development and security challenges that are affecting these countries and the region.
“This unprecedented outbreak requires an unprecedented response,” said Dr David Nabarro, the UN Secretary General’s Senior Coordinator for the Ebola Response.
“The number of cases have doubled in these countries in the last three weeks. To get in front of this, the response must be increased 20-fold from where it is today.”
The Mission would immediately begin to pull together the assets from the relevant agencies. The hub of the Mission would be located in Accra, Ghana. It would bring together the collective assets of the UN and work closely with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. GNA