‘The Ebola outbreak is spreading faster than the world can respond to it. There are not enough health workers in the field, and dying people are being turned away by hospitals. Norway is therefore providing a further NOK 58.7 million to international efforts to combat the outbreak,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The current situation is dramatic, and there is an urgent need to step up the international effort to prevent more people from being infected with the deadly Ebola virus disease. According to the UN, unless efforts are scaled up, the situation will deteriorate significantly. The UN has recently outlined a set of critical needs totalling almost USD 1 billion over the next six months.
‘The UN Security Council is due to meet tomorrow to discuss the response to the outbreak. At the meeting, we will announce that the total funding provided by Norway has now reached more than NOK 86 million,’ Mr Brende said.
The impact of the Ebola outbreak in the affected countries goes far beyond the health sector. Agricultural production is falling dramatically, and the economic consequences will be serious. The cancellation of flights and calls by ships is also hampering commercial activities. However, the shortage of healthcare workers is the most acute problem.
‘The shortage of healthcare workers is critical. Norway’s support will enable the African Union to send a further 100 health workers to the affected areas,’ said Mr Brende.
So far, Médecins Sans Frontières has sent 18 medical and non-medical staff from Norway to the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. The Norwegian Red Cross will be sending out four health workers within a few days.
The Norwegian funding will be channelled mainly through Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.