World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan has assured citizens that although Ebola outbreak seems out of control, that it can still be stopped.
Mrs Chan said this during a meeting with Presidents of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Friday, August 1, 2014.
According to a WHO transcript, She said, “This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it.
“If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.
“This meeting must mark a turning point in the outbreak response,” Chan added.
“The outbreak is by far the largest in the four-year history of the disease, with 729 deaths so far, including more than 60 healthcare workers, and 1,323 cases overall.
“Experience showed that the outbreak could be stopped and the general public was not at high risk of infection, but it would be “extremely unwise” to let the virus circulate widely over a long period of time.
“Constant mutation and adaptation are the survival mechanisms of viruses and other microbes. We must not give this virus opportunities to deliver more surprises, she added.
Chan also disclosed that cultural practices which includes traditional burials and deep-seated beliefs played a significant role in the the spread and hinders efforts to contain the virus.
People’s beliefs that isolation wards were “a sure death sentence” led them to care for loved ones at home or consult traditional healers, defeating attempts to contain the disease.
“Moreover, public attitudes can create a security threat to response teams when fear and misunderstanding turn to anger, hostility, or violence.”