UN teams, partners help gov’ts in DRC, Guinea respond to Ebola

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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) — Teams from the United Nations and humanitarian partners are in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and southeast Guinea to assess Ebola outbreaks and support government-led responses, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday.

In the DRC, vaccination teams are already working in the northeast, said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund, and other partners, are mobilizing to support the response, rehabilitating treatment centers and boosting contact-tracing capacity.

Communication campaigns are also helping combat misinformation among the local population to promote safe vaccination, Dujarric said.

In Guinea, the UN team started a four-day mission to assess the situation in the southeastern region of Nzerekore Prefecture, he said. Vincent Martin, the resident humanitarian coordinator, leads the UN mission with representatives from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the WHO.

Less than 24 hours after the official declaration of the epidemic, the UN Humanitarian Air Service, with logistical support from the WFP, organized a first humanitarian flight to the area, the spokesman said. It carried personal protective equipment for health care personnel, assistance kits for infected people and disinfection equipment.

The UN delegation met with local authorities as well as community leaders. It also took part in a crisis meeting organized by national authorities to roll out a rapid contact-tracing mechanism to assess the disease’s spread and establish an effective response plan.

Dujarric said the response includes emergency vaccine distribution, case management, crisis communications, and border management.

Guinea announced the new Ebola outbreak on Sunday in Gouecke, a sub-prefecture in Nzerekore Prefecture. Enditem

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