WHO to support Ebola preparedness plan for countries at risk

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GENEVA, Switzerland
The World Health Organization is supporting 9 countries bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo to scale up their national emergency preparedness and response capacities.

According to WHO, the ongoing Ebola outbreak poses a significant risk of spread to these countries on the basis of proximity to the current outbreak and the current capacity of their health systems to cope with the disease. The 9  countries are Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Based on the IHR assessment and status of core capacities implementation in countries, the plan lays out WHO’s recommendations to ensure that these countries are operationally ready to prevent the importation of cases, implement risk mitigation, detection and response measures for Ebola.

Specifically, the objective of the plan is to help the countries to assess and identify their existing capacities as well as their gaps, to prevent, rapidly detect, investigate and respond to Ebola. The plan also provides countries with a minimum standard package of what needs to be in place to respond to a first Ebola case and to continuously monitor their preparedness and readiness.

Ministries of Health, partners and WHO are already supporting the implementation of Ebola preparedness actions in all 9 countries. This includes Preparedness Strengthening Team missions to assess the state of preparedness, training of rapid response teams, establishment of intersectoral coordination mechanisms, strengthening of community-based surveillance systems, laboratory capacities, community engagement and sensitization, reinforcement of points of entry and the establishment of screening, and the identification and rehabilitation of health facilities to manage EVD cases, among other activities.

Through this plan, WHO will closely work with the Ministries of Health and wider government stakeholders, the intersectoral and interagency mechanisms and partners and will leverage the emergency mechanisms in place including Emergency Medical Teams, Health Clusters, and GOARN.