Via allAfrica.com, a report from the Concord Times in Freetown: As Fears Heighten About 'Ebola' Outbreak - Taskforce Formed to Coordinate Public Health Response. Excerpt:
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Ms. Miatta Ballay Kargbo, yesterday revealed that an emergency national response team, known as 'The Taskforce', has been established to coordinate and communicate government's response to a feared outbreak of the dreaded Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. She said the team would work in collaboration with development partners.
She confirmed that the move was in direct response to an outbreak of a mysterious virus, feared to be Ebola, which has been reported in neighbouring Guinea, and has already killed close to sixty people.
Reports monitored from Guinea, however, say the deaths were not caused by Ebola, although nothing has been attributed to the deaths so far.
She revealed that The Taskforce, comprising representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF, NGO partners including World Vision, Save the Children, MSF, held their first meeting on Monday (24 March).
She maintained that a technical team, which includes the Chief Medical Officer, Director of Disease Prevention and Control, WHO and UNICCEF, meets regularly via conference call with their counterparts in Guinea, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali and Senegal since the outbreak was reported in Guinea, adding that the ministry has expanded the team in a bid to have sub-teams for case management, coordinating, communication, laboratory and surveillance, which meet at different locations.
She said development partners have pledged support to use their comparative strength to provide assistance to the country.
Ms. Kargbo noted that The Taskforce has been set up so that any emergency could be properly coordinated and in order to avoid challenges the ministry encountered during the last cholera outbreak in 2012, when partners and government agencies embarked on an uncoordinated effort to stem the epidemic.