Via SABC: Sierra Leone president urges more WHO action on Ebola. Excerpt:
Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to do more to fight an Ebola outbreak that has killed 348 people in the West African country.
With the death toll over 1 000 and still climbing, the UN health agency is facing questions over whether it moved quickly enough to declare the months-old outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern", which it did on August 8.
"WHO, I have just urged them to increase their responsiveness because of where we are, and it's not only WHO, I indicated to you that I spoke to the secretary-general of the Unite Nations and we need a more robust response to the nature of the disease and the way it is affecting us. And it is an extraordinary situation and we all agreed that we'd require an extraordinary response, so that is why we wanted a quick response.
"It's only after our meeting in Conakry that the WHO went out to urge the other partners and then we heard reactions from the World Bank. And all of these are pronouncements, they still had to go through processes to make whatever has been committed available, and time is of the essence," Koroma said at a press conference in Freetown.
Medical charity MSF (Doctors Without Borders), which has been one of the most active groups in fighting the outbreak, said its spread had created a "wartime" situation in the worst-affected states of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Nigeria is also facing a smaller separate outbreak.
Koroma said his nation's only two treatment centres were "overwhelmed". In neighbouring Liberia, Information Minister Lewis Brown said Ebola-affected rural areas quarantined by troops faced serious food shortages.
"This is a call we are now making to the world because we need treatment centres, and in treatment centres we need clinicians that require specialised training, we don't have that. We need nurses that require specialised training, we don't have that. We need sprayers that require specialised training, we don't have that," said Koroma.
"And if our people are dying, the response should be an extraordinary response because it is an extraordinary situation. We must limit the bureaucracy and come and save our people, as we are doing to ensure peace in our country and to save the lives of other nationals of other countries," he continued to say.