AU pledges Ebola fund

2015-01-28 19:07
A health worker cleans his hands with chlorinated water before entering a Ebola screening tent, at the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone. (Michael Duff, AP)

A health worker cleans his hands with chlorinated water before entering a Ebola screening tent, at the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone. (Michael Duff, AP)

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Addis Ababa - The African Union plans to launch an Ebola Solidarity Fund, officials said on Wednesday, as aid agency Oxfam warned the continent's leaders needed to keep their promises to boost healthcare.

Oxfam called for a "massive post-Ebola Marshall Plan", referring to the United States aid package to rebuild Europe after World War Two.

"This disaster might have been avoided if African governments had made free public health care and spent more on their health systems, under the commitment they made 14 years ago in the Abuja Declaration," Oxfam said in a statement.

"It's clear that Africa's existing architecture for early disease detection, response and control is wholly inadequate," Oxfam added, calling for the AU to approve its own plans for an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The AU Ebola fund will be launched on Friday, during a summit meeting for leaders of the 54-member bloc, which has already sent hundreds of health workers as part of its AU Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) mission.

In November, the AU, African Development Bank and regional business leaders set up a crisis fund to help areas hit by the Ebola outbreak, with some $28m pledged.

"It is time for Africa to mobilise its own resources in support of its development and take charge of its own destiny," AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Wednesday.

The worst outbreak of the virus in history has seen nearly 9 000 deaths in a year - almost all in the three west African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - and sparked a major health scare worldwide.

Read more on:    au  |  oxfam  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma  |  guinea  |  sierra leone  |  liberia  |  ebola  |  west africa

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