Via MSF.org: Ebola crisis update - 23 March 2015. Excerpt from a long, detailed report:
Since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was officially declared on 22 March in Guinea, it has claimed more than 10,236 lives in the region. The outbreak is the largest ever, and is currently affecting three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Outbreaks in Mali, Nigeria and Senegal have been declared over. A separate outbreak in DRC has also ended.
The epidemic is not yet over
In Guinea and Sierra Leone there were still about 150 new cases between March 8 and 15. The vast majority of them are concentrated in Conakry, Freetown and the surrounding regions.
The number of weekly cases is still by far higher than in any other previous outbreak. At the beginning of March in Guinea, less than 30% of cases came from identified contact chains.
One case can be enough to reignite the epidemic.
Two ‘pillars’ of the response are still missing – and key to hope getting to zero cases
Regional cooperation: Given the high mobility of the population across the three most-affected countries, surveillance must be ensured across borders and coordinated on the regional level to avoid new cases to be ‘imported’ in Ebola-free zones.
Community awareness remains low in some areas, raising the risk of local people panicking, which can lead to violence against medical and aid workers. Community mobilization and sensitisation efforts supported by national and local leaders must be reinforced rapidly.
Non-Ebola needs are a persisting concern
Already weak public health systems have been seriously damaged by the epidemic. In Liberia and Sierra Leone, many hospitals have shut and there are very few places for the non-Ebola sick to turn for help.
The long period of interrupted health services has caused significant gaps in preventive activities, such as routine immunization of children, and in retention in care for people on long-term treatments such as HIV and other chronic diseases. There is a need to catch up and mitigate the consequences of the treatment interruption.