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The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, started last Thursday in West Africa, a tour in countries the most affected by Ebola, the first tour of this kind since the beginning of the epidemic, reported the AFP agency.
Accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan and by the UNO coordinator for the fight against the epidemic, Dr David Nabarro, he will make the first stop in Ghana, where is based the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), indicated the Ghanaian presidency in a communiqué.
He should meet the manager of the UNMEER, Anthony Banbury, who will accompany the delegation in the most affected three countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, as well as in Mali, the last to be affected by the virus.
The epidemic in West Africa, the most serious since the identification of the virus in Central Africa in 1976, started in December 2013 in the Southern Guinea, caused for at least 6.915 deaths over 18.603 cases listed, among which more than 99 % in these first three countries, according to the last report from the WHO dated 14th December.
The number of deaths continues to be underestimated, according to the WHO that estimates at 70 % the real mortality rate in these three countries.
In Liberia, the country that counts the largest number of deaths (3.290), the Secretary General, who explained that he would like « to realize by himself » the situation, can notice the progress, the number of new cases being in net diminution.
« The strategy for the fight against Ebola works and we are getting improvements« , underlined Mr. Ban before his departure from New York, regretting nevertheless a « lack of personnel and resources« .
As a reminder, Christmas and New Year festivities are forbidden in Sierra Leone, the most affected country in terms of number of cases (more than 8.500) and where the transmission remains the most intense.
In nearby Guinea, also with strong majority of Muslims, the governor of the capital, Conakry, decreed on Tuesday the ban on Christmas and New Year festivities, raising the « respect for the sanitary urgency« .
In Mali, Mr. Ban will meet the actors who allowed the confinement of the series of contaminations caused by a sick person coming from nearby Guinea, but the country will only be officially declared exempt from the virus in January.
Original text by: Blaise AKAME