Norway is providing an additional NOK 15 million to support efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak. ‘The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa is cause for great concern. A concerted effort at both local and international level is needed to control the outbreak and prevent further spread of the disease,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The Ebola outbreak was first reported in February this year in Guinea, and later in Liberia and Sierra Leone. This is the largest outbreak of the disease ever reported, and the death toll by the end of July was around 730. The number of new cases in Guinea is dropping, but many new cases are still being reported in Sierra Leone and Liberia despite the strict measures these countries have introduced to prevent the spread of the disease.
‘Norway is now allocating a further NOK 5 million to the work of Médecins Sans Frontières and NOK 10 million to WHO, which is playing a coordinating and advisory role in dealing with the outbreak,’ said Mr Brende.
Earlier this year, Norway donated NOK 4 million to Médecins Sans Frontières for treatment of Ebola victims and efforts to contain the disease in West Africa.
‘We know that Ebola has a fatality rate of between 50 and 90 %. This makes it essential to speed up and coordinate the response in affected communities. The health sector in the countries involved is weak, and they lack personnel, laboratories, surveillance capacity and treatment facilities. Additional resources must be mobilised rapidly to bring the outbreak under control. National authorities, the UN and other international organisations all have an important role to play here,’ said Mr Brende.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is following the situation closely through its embassies in Accra in Ghana and Abuja in Nigeria. The Norwegian health authorities are also monitoring the situation closely. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is providing information and advice on its website.