Malabo – The African Union (AU) international conference on Ebola kicked off Monday in Malabo to share experiences in Africa’s fight against Ebola and discuss post-epidemic recovery and reconstruction for Ebola-affected countries.

The conference is being held under the theme: “Africa helping Africans in the Ebola Recovery and Reconstruction.”
The two-day event brings together government officials, UN and regional agencies and private sectors to share experiences on lessons learnt in the fight against Ebola.

Special focus would be given to the commitment to assisting Ebola-affected countries, especially Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, in their recovery and reconstruction efforts.

It is also expect3d to feature plans to prevent future public health-threatening outbreaks on the continent.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Mustapha Kaloko, said the Ebola outbreak in parts of

West Africa was the largest, longest and most complex in the disease’s history.
“The uniqueness of this outbreak has highlighted the fragile health systems in the affected countries.

“It also highlighted the significant deficits in the human, financial and material resources needed for an effective and timely response to outbreaks.

“In addition to the death and illness caused by Ebola, there has been an upsurge in mortality and morbidity from other diseases and conditions.
“This is linked to the collapse of health systems, which significantly erode local capacities in critical areas,” said Kaloko.

The AU official said health funding in most African countries was below the required level to achieve a functional, basic health system and called for new initiatives to diversify funding resources.

He also called for a greater support for recovery efforts for the three affected countries, including ensuring the resilience of health systems.

He said this was to enable them enable them to respond to outbreaks and other humanitarian emergencies, as well as to continue dealing with non-Ebola health issues.

First reported in March 2014, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed over 11,200 lives by far. (Xinhua/NAN)

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