MSF says WHO Ebola declaration must translate to action

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical aid organization, said on Friday that the world must take action against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Bart Janssens, the director of operations for MSF, said the recent declaration by the World Health Organization of the West African Ebola outbreak as an international public health emergency showed how seriously WHO is taking the outbreak. He said that statements by themselves, however, do not save lives.

"Now we need this statement to translate into immediate action on the ground," Janssens said. "For weeks, MSF has been repeating that a massive medical, epidemiological and public health response is desperately needed to (save) lives and reverse the course of the epidemic."

Janssens said that people are dying because the response is too slow.

"Countries possessing necessary capacities must immediately dispatch available infectious disease experts and disaster relief assets to the region," Janssens said. "It is clear the epidemic will not be contained without a massive deployment on the ground from these states."

Janssens said the area needs a radical scale up in terms of education, community mobilization, alert and referral systems, epidemiological surveillance, contact tracing, infection control, training of health staff and medical care.

According to the WHO, the Ebola epidemic has claimed 932 lives since it began in March.