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AUC Pledges One Million Dollars To Ebola Response
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The African Union Commission (AUC) has pledged one million dollars from its Humanitarian Fund to support continental and global efforts to turn the tide against the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa.

The most affected countries are Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

“The AUC is committed to ensure that measures are put in place to prevent the further spread of the epidemic and that adequate support is provided to the affected communities,” says Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission.

An African Union (AU) /WHO statement copied to Ghana News Agency on Wednesday said AU would call for an extraordinary Meeting of the Bureau of the 6th Conference of the Union’s Ministers of Health in September.

He said the conference would lobby Member States to replenish the African Union Special Emergency Fund for Drought and Famine which would now cover public health.

In addition the meeting would also call for the WHO managed African Public Health Emergency Fund, to be replenished to support affected countries.

The meeting would coincide with a donor’s conference on the Ebola Outbreak taking place in September in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to step up Africa’s efforts and to consolidate global support.

“The Ebola Virus Disease outbreak demonstrates that there is still an urgent need for the African countries to strengthen their health systems and disaster risk management,” Dr Pierre M’Pele-Kilebou, WHO Representative to Ethiopia, said.

“The African Union and the WHO are working closely to mobilise African countries and the international community to respond effectively to this public health emergency,” he added.

The AU established the African Public Health Emergency Fund in 2012 which is managed by WHO.

More than $700,000 has already been spent from the fund since the Ebola outbreak began.

The first Joint AU/WHO meeting of African Ministers of Health held in April in Luanda, Angola, issued a strong statement of solidarity, which is now translating into action with the contribution of $3.5 million by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and $200,000 by the Republic of Botswana to the on-going efforts.

The Ebola outbreak is providing the impetus to speed up the establishment of the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for early detection, preparedness and response.

It is expected that by early 2016 at the latest, the centre should be functioning as an institution of the AU.

The AU is also strengthening the regional mechanisms to prevent and control animal diseases that can be spread across the borders and diseases which can be transmitted to humans from animals.

These initiatives are being integrated into established institutional structures of Regional Economic Communities and Member States in order to ensure political support and long-term sustainability.

The West Africa Ebola Response Plan, developed by WHO in conjunction with the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone requires more than $100 million for additional health personnel, supplies and support to coordinated action.

Surveillance systems and community education needs to be strengthened urgently to stop the epidemic.

The current epidemic is the biggest and most complex that the world has experienced since the first human outbreak occurred in 1976.

The current epidemic has a total of 1848 suspected cases with 1013 deaths reported by the WHO as of August 9.
Source: GNA

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