West Africa Health Ministers set up $10m Ebola fund

An emergency meeting of West African Health Ministers on the Ebola Virus disease has ended with a unanimous agreement to set up a fund of $10 million to support research into the disease which has claimed close to 500 lives in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The meeting, held in Accra Ghana, was organized to provide an update and share experience on the Ebola outbreak in the region, discuss key issues related to the containment of the disease in West Africa and agree on a strategy for an accelerated operational response.

Critical challenges were identified in the areas of, coordination, communication, cross border collaboration, logistics, financing, community participation and research, and called for immediate action to resolve such bottlenecks.

The ministers adapted a common inter-country strategy calling for accelerated response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

These strategies stressed the need for regional, sub regional and national leadership, coordinated actions by all stake holders, enhanced cross border collaboration and participation of the communities. 

The Ministers also agreed to an ECOWAS Heads of State summit to be held on July 10 and 11 2014 to address the Ebola outbreak and mobilize relevant government sectors, community, religious and political leaders to work together to improve awareness, psycho-social support and understanding of the Ebola situation by communities in order to achieve a more effective response. 

Speaking with Adom News after the meeting Sherry Ayittey, Ghana’s outgoing Minister of Health, said government was going to constitute a multi-sectoral national task force to effectively implement the strategies recommended during the meeting.

She was hopeful that the upcoming ECOWAS meeting would help raise the necessary resources to implement the strategies.

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