WHO declares Guinea free of Ebola

4 Jan 16

Guinea was declared Ebola free last week after no new cases were reported for 42 days.

The declaration, made by the World Health Organisation on 29 December, marks an important milestone for the Ebola outbreak, which originated in Guinea and also affecting Sierra Leone and Liberia throughout 2014 and 2015.

Heightened surveillance will continue for 90 days to ensure any new cases are identified quickly before they can infect other people.

Dr Mohamed Belhocine, WHO representative in Guinea, said: “WHO commends the government of Guinea and its people on the significant achievement of ending its Ebola outbreak. We must render homage to the government and people of Guinea who, in adversity, have shown extraordinary leadership in fighting the epidemic.”

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa added that, for the first time, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had stopped the original chains of transmission responsible for starting the outbreak.

“I commend the governments, communities and partners for their determination in confronting this epidemic to get to this milestone. As we work towards building resilient health care systems, we need to stay vigilant to ensure that we rapidly stop any new flares that may come up in 2016,” Moeti said.

WHO added that 2016 will be the year in which the three most-affected countries rebuild their health systems, with a particular focus on maternal and child health, whilst maintaining monitoring and response systems for any further Ebola flare ups.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim also sent his congratulations to the government and people of Guinea.

“They have showed remarkable determination fighting Ebola since the first case emerged in rural Guinea two years ago.

“Still, we must remain vigilant to stay at zero cases, and continue to support Guinea as it contends with the enormous human and economic costs of Ebola. We must remain committed to support survivors and everyone affected by the virus, while also remembering the thousands of Guineans and heroic health workers who lost their lives.”

Throughout the Ebola pandemic, the World Bank mobilised $1.62bn in resources to finance response and recovery efforts.

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