WHO urges international travels to Ebola countries

The International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee, says there should be no general ban on international travel or trade to Ebola stricken countries.

It however, gave exception for the restrictions outlined in the previous recommendations regarding the travel of Ebola Virus Diseases (EVD) cases and contacts.
A statement issued by Fadéla Chaib, World Health Organisation (WHO) Communications Officer and copied to Ghana News Agency on Monday said: “Flight cancellations and other travel restrictions continue to isolate affected countries resulting in detrimental economic consequences, and hinder relief and response efforts risking further international spread.”

The second meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the IHR 2005 regarding the 2014 EVD, or “Ebola” outbreak in West Africa was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee through electronic correspondence from September 16 – 21.
Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal, provided an update on the assessment of the Ebola outbreak, including progress towards implementation of the Emergency Committee’s Temporary Recommendations.

The Committee also advised that affected countries should fully engage with the transport sector, especially the aviation and maritime sectors, to facilitate mutual understanding of potentially diverse viewpoints and develop a coordinated response.

It said where extraordinary supplemental measures such as quarantine are considered necessary in States with intense and widespread transmission, States should ensure that they are proportionate and evidence-based, and that accurate information, essential services and commodities, including food and water, are provided to the affected populations.

Many responders have lost their lives due to the nature of the response work; the Committee said, affected countries should ensure that health care workers receive adequate security measures for their safety and protection; support families of deceased health care workers and access to adequate health care services, in particular for international health care workers.

It said challenges in implementation of standard Ebola control measures-case finding and contact tracing, case management, safe burials, social mobilisation in affected countries warrant measures to augment their implementation, including deepening community engagement, in areas of intense transmission.

It said all States should reinforce preparedness, validate preparation plans and check their state of preparedness through simulations and adequate training of personnel.

The Committee emphasized the importance of continued support by WHO and other national and international partners towards the effective implementation and monitoring of the recommendations.

The Committee also highlighted the need: for enhanced mobilisation and coordination of resources to facilitate response efforts; to engage the global research community and address key research opportunities such as virus mutation, modelling effects of entry /exit strategies, effectiveness of various public health measures directly relevant to Ebola control including Health-care workers infection and protection, new/unregistered medical interventions.

The Director-General extended the Temporary Recommendations issued on August 8, under the IHR, noting the additional clarity provided in respect of the recommendations. GNA

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