We are finally getting some good news on the Ebola front, as the World Health Organization has announced on Thursday that the month of January amounted to the lowest number of new cases since the epidemic started in June 2014. This fact suggests that the outbreak is finally showing its endgame.
The WHO’s representative stated that the medical response to the EVD (Ebola virus disease) epidemic has successfully shifted its focus from desperately trying to slow the spreading of the disease to putting an end to it. The emphasis must be now set on case management, providing safe burials for the victims and engaging the communities in helping the authorities in ending it as soon as possible.
The victims of this unfortunate epidemic amount to 8,810 people out of 22,092 documented cases. Almost all of the people who were affected are natives from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Last week has shown a sudden drop in disease cases and deaths in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the number reached only 20 deaths.
However, reports from Guinea do not look good: 30 new cases last week, an increase from the 20 in the previous week. The country is still battling the virus, which managed to reach Guinea’s Mali prefecture at the border with Senegal. The border between Senegal and Guinea was reopened on Monday. The President of Guinea, Alpha Conde, has set a goal of eradicating the viral disease by March, but if the virus manages to revive, that plan might fail.
Dr. Peter Salama, global Ebola emergency coordinator for the U.N. Children’s Fund, announced that the war against the epidemic is far from over. He admits that the global response underestimated the force of the viral infection from the beginning, allowing thousands of people to die. He then promised that they will use the advantage of this short window between now and April, before the rains come over West Africa and block access to provide aid in the area.
Over 10,000 children have lost their parent(s) in this epidemic, and over 5 million couldn’t attend school, due to their closing during this awful time. However, Guinea reopened its schools last week, Liberia will do the same the next, and soon enough, Sierra Leone will catch up with the recovery. These communities need every bit of normalcy they can get, in order to bounce back from the Ebola outbreak.
Image Source: UN OCHA