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Published On: Sun, Aug 31st, 2014

Ebola: WHO develops roadmap to stop spread in 6 months

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  • As US sets to start vaccine trial in Nigeria

By Doyin Ojosipe

Bothered by the fast spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a roadmap which is aimed at stopping the spread of Ebola worldwide, within the period of 6–9 months, while rapidly managing the consequences of any further international spread.

In a statement issued at the weekend, WHO said the roadmap will also guide and coordinate the international response to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, adding that the resource flows to implement the roadmap will be tracked separately, and will be supported by the World Bank.

The organisation said the plan was borne, following comments received from partners, including health officials in the affected countries, the African Union, development banks, other UN agencies, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and countries providing direct financial support.

It also said that the roadmap will serve as a framework for updating detailed operational plans, even as priority is being given to needs for treatment and management centres, social mobilization, and safe burials.

The situation reports, map the hotspots and hot zones, present epidemiological data showing how the outbreak is evolving over time, and communicate what is known about the location of treatment facilities and laboratories, together with data needed to support other elements of the roadmap.

The roadmap will also cover the health dimensions of the international response, which will include key potential bottlenecks requiring international coordination, such as the supply of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, and body bags.

The WHO Roadmap will be complemented by the development of a separate UN-wide operational platform that brings in the skills and capacities of other agencies, including assets in the areas of logistics and transportation. The UN-wide platform aims to facilitate the delivery of essential services, such as food and other provisions, water supply and sanitation, and primary health care.

Meanwhile, the US National Institutes of Health, in a separate statement issued on Thursday, has indicated its intentions to start a new vaccine trial in Nigeria, which will require about 20 volunteers to see if the vaccine is safe for human use.

The statement indicated that the vaccine was developed by the agency’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and GlaxoSmithKline.

It further stated that the vaccine will be tested on 100 volunteers at the United Kingdom, by the second week of September.

In the statement, it was mentioned that “The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has initiated discussions with Ministry of Health officials in Nigeria about the prospects for conducting a Phase 1 safety study of the vaccine among healthy adults in that country. The pace of human safety testing for experimental Ebola vaccines has been expedited in response to the on-going Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.”

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