Ebola one year on: the fight’s not over

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​Aid agencies admit mistakes in Ebola response

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23rd March 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Charities and aid groups have warned that the threat of Ebola is as great as ever – as the world’s marks a year from the confirmation of the most deadly outbreak ever.

The epidemic is thought to have started in December 2013 in Guinea, west Africa – but was only confirmed three months later.

It is thought this delay is one of the reasons the virus got such a deadly grip, spreading through Sierra Leone and Liberia.

So far more than 10,000 have been killed and 24,000 infected.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has released a report to mark the one year anniversary.

It is dedicated to the 500 aid workers who have died – 14 of whom belonged to the charity.

We are still a long way from getting to zero cases, but the direction of travel is positive

MSF said lessons must be learned and criticised governments for not communicating properly in the outbreak’s early stages and for initially trying to play the scale of the problem down.

Director Christopher Stokes said: “For the Ebola outbreak to spiral out of control required many institutions to fail. And they did – with tragic and avoidable consequences.”

Meanwhile, Oxfam said that many aid agencies – including itself – got the wrong balance between preventative measures and treatment.

It said more could have been done to engage communities to take measures to stop Ebola’s spread – however, in practise, there was a greater emphasis on providing medicine, beds and medical workers.

Oxfam said the approach of governments could have been better – and in some case, this drove people to non-compliance.

A major lesson, the charity said, is that governments and aid groups cannot stop Ebola’s spread without the support of communities.

Sue Turrell, head of Oxfam’s Ebola response team, said the crisis is not over yet.

She warned: "We are still a long way from getting to zero cases, but the direction of travel is positive.”