April, 2024

Gulf health ministers take unified stance to combat Ebola

ebolaThe six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have agreed to a unified plan to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from penetrating the region’s borders, according to Saudi Arabian media.

The agreement was made by the health ministers of U.A.E., Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, at a meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss training health officials and using regional facilities to diagnose and treat the disease, Arab News reported.

“The meeting … came in good time. Delegates will make every effort to keep the disease out of the region,” Tawfiq Khoja, Director-General of the GCC Health Ministers’ Executive Office, said.

The GCC ministerial meeting discussed national, regional and global experiences of the virus and also chalked out a common strategy to combat the disease.

Today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reiterated its position that the risk of transmission of Ebola virus disease during air travel remains low.

“Unlike infections such as influenza or tuberculosis, Ebola is not airborne,” says Dr Isabelle Nuttall, Director of WHO Global Capacity Alert and Response. “It can only be transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is sick with the disease,” Nuttall said in a statement on its website.

On Sunday, U.A.E. Ministry of Health announced that U.A.E. is free from Ebola disease and that preventive and precautionary measures in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations have been taken to keep the disease at bay.

Last Friday, WHO declared an international public health emergency over the Ebola outbreak in western Africa that has killed almost 1,000 people. The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD), is an “extraordinary event” and a public health risk to other countries, said WHO in a statement.

The UN health agency said more than one million people had been affected by the outbreak in West Africa, and warned there was “no early end in sight” to the severe health crisis and called for “extraordinary measures” to stop the spread of the deadly disease.

WHO said another 56 people had died from Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone between 10-11 August, bringing the total number of cases to 1,975 and deaths to 1,069

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