Developed countries would have contained Ebola - Zuma

2014-09-25 07:04
President Jacob Zuma addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York. (Frank Franklin II, AP)

President Jacob Zuma addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York. (Frank Franklin II, AP)

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New York - Fewer people would have died from Ebola if it had broken out in the more developed countries, President Jacob Zuma told the United Nations general assembly in New York.

The number of casualties in some west African countries was an example of the challenges that developing countries continued to contend with, Zuma said in a speech he delivered on Wednesday.

"We believe that Ebola would have been contained within a few days had it been an outbreak in the developed world," he said, adding that it had become a pandemic which threatened economies of the affected countries.

Challenges

"The outbreak has thus exposed the challenges of capacity, lack of infrastructure and other limited resources in Africa," Zuma said.

The Associated Press reported that Ebola was believed to have infected more than 5 800 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal. It has grown into the world's largest ever for the disease, partially because it went undetected for months.

More than 2 800 people have died from the disease.

Zuma thanked the UN for deploying a mission to co-ordinate efforts to combat the virus.

"South Africa stands ready to continue to provide whatever resources at our disposal to assist the people and governments of [affected areas].

"We add our voice in calling for more resources to be deployed to ensure that the virus is contained," he said.

UN programme

Zuma arrived in the United States on Sunday.

His office said he would also attend a number of side events forming part of the UN assembly's programme.

Zuma was accompanied by several ministers including Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

Read more on:    un  |  jacob zuma  |  guinea  |  sierra leone  |  us  |  liberia  |  ebola  |  health  |  west africa

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