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WHO staff on the ground essential to breaking Ebola transmission chains

Freetown/ Brazzaville, 24 August 2015 – Ongoing efforts to get to zero Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are yielding good results. This follows a massive deployment of experts by the World Health Organization and partners, to track and break each and every transmission chain of Ebola virus disease (EVD) through linking intensive community engagement and social mobilization efforts with surveillance and contact tracing. 

The tracking and breaking of transmission chains requires tremendous numbers of qualified staff to work with the communities to identify if a person has been in contact with someone infected with EVD, monitor them for symptoms for up to 21 days, and to quickly isolate and treat them in a treatment centre if symptoms develop. 

“Stopping Ebola transmission chains has required rapid mobilization of human and financial resources; this has been my top priority since my appointment,” says Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. 

“Over 530 highly-skilled staff are currently deployed in Ebola affected countries through the Regional Office for Africa [AFRO] and many have taken on key leadership roles that have greatly facilitated community and social mobilization from the household up to the chiefdom/ward level,” adds Dr Moeti.

Through WHO’s strong leadership and coordination role among partners, as well as the consistent technical work on the ground, Sierra Leone is down to a single transmission chain. As at 24 August 2015, zero confirmed Ebola cases have been reported for the last two consecutive weeks. WHO’s integrated Ebola response, working with partners, has contributed significantly to this progress, as has the scaling up of community-owned social mobilization efforts aimed at getting to zero cases in West Africa. 

Continue reading the press release here

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