Via The Guardian: Obama pushes for 'global effort' to combat spread of Ebola. Excerpt:
Barack Obama has said a global effort is required to combat the spread of Ebola which he blamed on weak and overwhelmed health systems in west Africa.
Speaking at the end of a summit of African leaders in Washington, the president said the disease – which has claimed the lives of more than 900 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – can be controlled and contained with the right resources. A single case has also been confirmed in Nigeria.
"The Ebola virus both currently and in the past is controlled if you have a strong public health infrastructure in place and countries that have been affected are first to admit that what's happened here is their public health systems have been overwhelmed. They weren't able to identify and then isolate cases quickly enough," he said.
"You did not have a strong trust relationship between some of the communities that were affected and health workers. As a consequence it spread more rapidly."
Obama said the US is working with European countries and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to respond to the crisis. The US centres for disease control moved Ebola to its highest category of health threat.
"Let's get all the health workers we need on the ground. Let's help to bolster the systems that there are in place. Let's nip as early as possible any additional outbreaks of the disease," he said.
But the president said it was too early to decide whether an experimental drug given to an American health worker who contracted Ebola and has been flown back to the US could be distributed in Africa.
Obama said the Ebola outbreak was discussed in his collective meetings with African leaders behind closed doors on the third and final day of the largest summit of the continent's governments held in Washington. He said that one consequence was a decision to establish an African centre for disease control. HIV/Aids was also on the agenda with a plan to double the number of children receiving life saving antiretroviral drugs.