In response to the earlier statement released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) where the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa was described as an “extraordinary event” and now constitutes an international health risk, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Director of Operations, Dr. Bart Janssens said:
“Declaring Ebola an international public health emergency shows how seriously WHO is taking the current outbreak but statements won’t save lives
“Now we need this statement to translate into immediate action on the ground. For weeks, MSF has been repeating that a massive medical, epidemiological and public health response is desperately needed to saves lives and reverse the course of the epidemic.
“Lives are being lost because the response is too slow.
“Countries possessing necessary capacities must immediately dispatch available infectious disease experts and disaster relief assets to the region.
“It is clear the epidemic will not be contained without a massive deployment on the ground from these states.
“In concrete terms, all of the following need to be radically scaled up: medical care, training of health staff, infection control, contact tracing, epidemiological surveillance, alert and referral systems, community mobilization and education.
“MSF currently has 66 international and 610 national staff responding to the crisis in the three affected countries. All our Ebola experts are mobilized, we simply cannot do more.”