The head of the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres is warning that the Ebola epidemic could just as easily be rearing its head again in West Africa – and like last time – the health authorities may not be well-equipped to deal with the deadly virus.
The heads of the seven great industrial nations met at the G7 again, and among other agendas vowed to step up efforts to control the Ebola epidemic, which has now taken the lives of approximately 11,000 people across West Africa. The virus may be seen receding in Liberia, but Sierre Leone and Guinea have seen a sharp rise in new cases.
The G7 despite addressing the issue, still fails to take direct counteractive measures to curtail the epidemic.
“We’ve been disappointed by the World Health Assembly and again by the G7 in terms of their recommendations,” Liu, the international president of MSF, told Reuters. She was indicating towards the WHO meeting just last month. The WHO failed to declare an international public health emergency on time, which led to a delay in medical resources to the sick.
According to Jerome Mouton, MSF, country head for Guinea, there is a still an atmosphere of ‘semi-denial’ as when the outbreak first surfaced a year ago.
“We are in the same situation where we are overly optimistic, saying that it is almost finished and there’s no problem but in fact it’s a big problem as there is potential for this to again set off a big epidemic,” he said.
Cases have risen steadily in Seirre Leone, with the highest daily count in nearly three months forcing the government to introduce a curfew in the affected regions to curtail the spread. “A month ago I thought we would see the end shortly but I am much less optimistic now,” Mouton said. In fact, in Guinea, the deadly virus has spread into districts previously free of the disease including the border area with Guinea Bissau.