World Bank plea for Ebola volunteers

Health chiefs are worried the rate of transmissions will outstrip efforts to combat Ebola

The president of the World Bank has made an emotional appeal for thousands of medical workers to volunteer and help contain the growing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Jim Yong Kim said at least 5,000 medics and support staff were needed to beat the disease.

Many potential recruits were too scared to travel to West Africa, he added.

The current Ebola outbreak has infected more than 10,000 people and killed nearly 5,000.

World Bank chief Mr Kim was speaking during a visit to Ethiopia, where he accompanied UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“Right now, I’m very much worried about where we will find those healthcare workers,” he said.

“With the fear factor going out of control in so many places, I hope healthcare professionals will understand that when they took their oath to become a health care worker it was precisely for moments like this,” he added.

Jim Yong KimWorld Bank President Jim Yong Kim made an emotional appeal for help
Health workers arrive to pick up the body of a young victim in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 24 OctHealth workers arrive to pick up the body of a young victim in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Mr Ban said that transmission rates in West Africa continued to outstrip the pace of the international response.

He added that imposing travel restrictions to affected countries would severely curtail efforts to beat the disease.

In the US, a Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola on American soil was due to be discharged from hospital on Tuesday after being declared free of the virus.

Amber Vinson was one of two nurses who cared for a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, in a Texas hospital. Mr Duncan, who had travelled to the US from West Africa, died on 8 October.

The second nurse, Nina Pham, was declared virus-free last week.

Annie, an Ebola patient, is carried on a stretcher to hospital in Liberia

The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse reports from Monrovia in Liberia: ”Ebola robs its victims of their dignity”

Meanwhile in Mali, 82 people who had contact with a toddler who died from Ebola are now being monitored, according to Reuters.

The country recently became the sixth West African nation to report an outbreak.

Officials are concerned that the disease, which has so far been largely restricted to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, may spread.

Dr Stacey Mearns

Dr Stacey Mearns talks of the “shocking” conditions on the ground as she works on the Ebola frontline in Sierra Leone

Since the boy died last week there have been no new reported cases.

There have been 4,922 deaths from the Ebola virus, according to the World Health Organization’s latest figures.

All but 27 of the cases have occurred inside Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

The virus spreads through close contact and health officials say stopping the spread of the disease in the areas hardest hit by the outbreak will prevent Ebola’s spread to other countries.


Ebola virus disease (EVD)

The ebola virus

How Ebola survivors’ blood is saving lives

  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% – but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
  • No proven vaccine or cure
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus’s natural host

Ebola special report


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