Between July 31 and Aug. 1, 2014, a total of 163 new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD; laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 61 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Three of these cases are in Nigeria and include two new probable cases — one is a healthcare worker and one is a Nigerian who travelled to Guinea — and a suspected case in a nurse.
National authorities in Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo continue to work closely with WHO and its partners in identification of contacts and contact tracing as well as in preparing response plans as a result of the recent visit by and death of a Liberian national to Nigeria from EVD and the new Nigerian EVD probable case, who travelled to Guinea.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization visited Guinea and held high-level meetings with the Presidents of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to review the status of the Ebola epidemic and adopt common strategies to eradicate Ebola from the sub-region. A Joint Declaration of Heads of State and Government of the Mano River Union (comprised of Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) was issued and leaders pledged to commit additional resources to the outbreak. This will include the following measures:
- Actions at the inter-country level to focus on cross-border regions, including isolation of specific areas by police and military and material support to the citizens in these areas. Health-care centers in these zones will be strengthened for treatment, testing, and contact tracing. Burials will be done in accordance with national health regulations.
- Provision of incentives, treatment, and protection for health personnel so they can feel safe in their jobs and perform their duties. In addition, security for national and international personnel supporting the fight against Ebola will also be assured.
- A commitment by heads of state to do their part to bring the outbreak to an end as soon as possible. To this end, the international community will support affected countries to build capacity for surveillance, contact tracing, case management, and laboratory capacity.
- Mobilization of the private and public sectors to work in synergy and increase sensitization efforts to enable communities to understand EVD for effective and efficient eradication.
- Involve all sectors in immediate implementation of necessary interventions outlined in national response plans; harmonize and coordinate these measures; deploy national and international human resources with appropriate skills; mobilize and allocate appropriate financial resources; strengthen surveillance of cross-border movement.
- Improve information and communications systems in an effort to strengthen sensitization and promote community participation, taking into account cultural contexts.
- Improve infection prevention and control measures in all treatment centres to prevent health personnel from contracting and dying from EVD.
- Put in place a monitoring and evaluation system of regional strategies and conduct research around the disease.
Human and financial resource mobilization continues to be sought from WHO’s partners, UN agencies, and other stakeholders. On Friday, WHO and the affected countries issued the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan in West Africa covering Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, neighboring states, and other countries in the region from July through December 2014. The joint WHO tri-national plan, estimated at $100.5 million (funding gap is $71 million) calls for additional human and material resources that align with the measures in the Joint Declaration.