12 Days Remaining

Sunday 19th
posted by Morning Star in World

LATIN American leaders will meet in Havana, Cuba, tomorrow to discuss their response to the devastating Ebola outbreak in west Africa.

Members of the Alba progressive economic alliance arranged the meeting in response to UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon’s call for the world to step up its response to the deadly virus.

Dr Jorge Perez Avila, the head of Cuba’s top tropical medicine institute (pictured), said he expected Alba members to boost support “for the protection not just of their countries but also to see how they can help those countries experiencing such difficult situations.

“There are countries that have resources and can send money, but there are also those who can send human resources. It's not just doctors. We also need nurses, technicians.”

Cuba has already sent 165 medics to Sierra Leone and plans to send 296 more to Liberia and Guinea.

World Health Organisation (WHO) figures put the death toll across the three African states at 4,546 out of 9,191 known cases.

While it is cold comfort, the WHO has declared the outbreak to be over in Senegal and is expected to say the same of Nigeria today.

Former president Fidel Castro wrote on Saturday that Cubans would work with US personnel “with pleasure,” not to seek peace between the countries but “for the peace of the world.”

The US is sending hundreds of soldiers, who reportedly receive just four hours of training about Ebola, to the region to aid in construction and logistics.

The WHO said at the weekend that it would not comment on a leaked internal report in which the UN agency said it had bungled early attempts to contain the Ebola outbreak.

The draft document pins the blame on incompetent staff, bureaucracy and a lack of reliable information.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” it reads.

The report said that it was “particularly alarming” that the head of the WHO office in Guinea wouldn’t help secure visas for a team of Ebola experts.