WHO declares West Africa Ebola free

Granma International, Geneva – This Thursday, January 14, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the Ebola epidemic which erupted two years ago in West Africa, killing over 11,300 people.

“Today WHO declares the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia, the outbreak that was associated with the flare-up of cases in mid-November,” said Rick Brennan, director of the WHO’s Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response.
Before Liberia, the WHO had previously declared an end to the lethal epidemic in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

A country is considered to be Ebola free if no new cases are reported for 42 days, reported German media chain DW.

UNICEF highlighted that almost 23,000 children have been orphaned in these nations after losing one or both parents to the virus.

At the outbreak of the epidemic, the WHO and the UN called on the international community to join forces to combat the virus.

During a September 2014 meeting in Geneva, Cuba was the first country to respond to the emergency, announcing that it would initially send a group of 165 health collaborators to Sierra Leone,a number which later increased.

Numerous media outlets and international figures such as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and WHO Director, Dr. Margaret Chan, acknowledged the island’s contribution to the fight.

U.S. newspaper The New York Times noted that Cuba’s attitude should be “lauded and emulated,” adding that “The Cuban health care workers will be among the most exposed foreigners.”

Cuba’s participation in the struggle is not an isolated case, but rather forms part of worldwide solidarity efforts undertaken over 55 years of Revolution.