MSF: Africa will take 6 months to control Ebola
15 August 2014, 19:01
Geneva - It will take about six months to bring
under control the Ebola epidemic, the head of Medecins Sans Frontieres said on
Friday, saying the outbreak in West Africa felt like "wartime, is moving,
Joanne Liu, international president of MSF (Doctors Without
Borders), speaking after a 10-day trip to West Africa, said more experts were
needed on the ground and was critical of the World Health Organisation (WHO)
for declaring Ebola a "public health emergency of international
concern" only on Aug 8.
"We need people with a hands-on operational
mindset," to combat the outbreak, Liu told a news briefing in Geneva.
Liu said she had conveyed those messages to the WHO and
"that I think the wake-up call was too late in calling it a public health
emergency of international concern."
"I think we have a common understanding on it
now," Liu said. "Now we have to find out how that is translated into
concrete action in the field a statement will save lives only if followed
up on the ground."
On Thursday, the WHO said staff in West Africa had seen
evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the
scale of the Ebola outbreak and said it would coordinate "a massive
scaling up of the international response".
The death toll from the world's worst outbreak of Ebola
stood on Wednesday at 1,069 from 1,975 confirmed, probable and suspected cases.
The majority were in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, while four people have
died in Nigeria.
"If we don't stabilise Liberia, we will never stabilise
the region. Over the next six months we should get the upper hand on the
epidemic, this is my gut feeling," Liu said.