Oxfam reaction to UN assessment that deadline to bring the Ebola outbreak under control by December 1st will not be met

In response to the UN's candid announcement that its December 1 Ebola target will not be met, Oxfam’s Ebola response lead, Vincent Koch said:

 “Oxfam welcomes the UN’s candid assessment of progress in the fight against Ebola. Knowing where we are in this fight is essential if we are to move forward. A clear and public plan of action from the UN and governments is needed to respond to the changing nature of the outbreak. This will enable the humanitarian community to effectively marshall its resources to overcome Ebola.”

“The response must continue full speed with a focus on treating patients but also on stopping the spread of Ebola. Supporting communities to prevent and act quickly upon new infections is critical.  We know from our work in Sierra Leone that a better balance is needed between prevention, containment and treatment in order to bring the outbreak under control.

In addition to more support for treatment of existing cases, Oxfam calls on affected country governments, donor governments, and UN agencies to ensure:

  • Increased prioritization and funding to help communities prevent and respond to Ebola cases, making sure that people know about Ebola, how to protect themselves, what to do if symptoms arise, and where they can go for both Ebola and non-Ebola medical needs;
  • Improved coordination and sharing of response data, information and activities of government and responding organizations on the ground;
  • More support for quarantined communities in Sierra Leone to ensure they have the basic support needed including food, water and access to healthcare;
  • Gender disaggregated data is gathered, to make sure the different needs of men and women are clear and can be properly addressed in the response.

“Ebola is a symptom of weaknesses in health systems that predate the current crisis. This needs to be seriously addressed by long-term commitments and actions by affected country governments and the international community.” 

Notes to editors: 

What Oxfam is doing

Oxfam is helping prevent the spread of Ebola both by working with communities to prevent further infections and supporting medical facilities with water, sanitation, cleaning equipment and protective clothing. So far our preventative work has directly reached over 860,000 people in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Oxfam's preparedness work is gearing up in Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Gambia. Over the coming weeks 700 vulnerable families in Guinea Bissau will receive hygiene kits. In Senegal, Oxfam aims to disseminate Ebola prevention messages though 600 women’s saving groups.

In Mali, Oxfam is preparing a response in coordination with state actors, UN agencies, and civil society, which will include strengthening hygiene and sanitation measures in schools.

 

Contact information: 

Melanie Gallant, Regional Media Lead, Freetown, 232-76-324-694, melanie.gallant@oxfam.ca, @MelGalla.

For updates, follow @Oxfam.

Photos of Oxfam's Ebola response.

The public can donate to support Oxfam's Ebola work.