In addressing the progress made in containing the Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) argues that, since July 2014, “unparalleled progress has been made in establishing systems and tools that allowed rapid response.”
From the first report of this outbreak on Mar. 23, 2014, this disease became a devastating epidemic, which led to nearly 25,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths. Most of the deaths occurred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
According to the U.N. Foundation blog, “the past year of battling Ebola has exposed troubling weakness, both in the health systems of the affected countries and in the international community’s ability to respond to the health crises of this nature.”
However, this period has also shown the world both the power and potential of a coordinated, global response. WHO and its partners are now in phase three of the Ebola response, from August 2015 to mid-year 2016.
At the climax of the Ebola outbreak, it is reported that more than 800 new cases of Ebola were being reported on a weekly basis. However, in the past year, the number of reported cases has fallen in countries like Liberia — the country that has seen more Ebola deaths than any other nation.
On the ground level, WHO continues to deploy technical experts in the three most affected countries and engage not only in response but in early recovery and survivor support efforts.
A collaboration between WHO and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) has led to about 4,000 technical experts as well as Ebola vaccination teams being deployed on the ground in more than 70 field sites in the three most affected countries.
Furthermore, WHO highlights that 45 laboratories have been installed since the start of the Ebola outbreak with WHO and the Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network (EDPLN) supporting 29 of them. All of these laboratories have tested more than 200,000 patient samples.
The Ebola outbreak has shaken the world and caused many deaths. However, thanks to the diligence, dedication and support from volunteers, medical teams, scientists, researchers and many others who have made fighting this epidemic a mission, much progress has been made in containing the Ebola outbreak.
– Vanessa Awanyo