Ebola outbreak: World Bank chief appeals for volunteers

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Burial in Monrovia, Liberia, 24 OctImage source, EPA
Image caption,
Health chiefs are worried the rate of transmissions will outstrip efforts to combat Ebola

The president of the World Bank has appealed for thousands of medical workers to volunteer and help contain the growing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Jim Yong Kim said at least 5,000 medics and support staff were needed to beat the disease.

Many potential recruits were too scared to travel to West Africa, he added.

The current Ebola outbreak has infected more than 10,000 people and killed nearly 5,000.

World Bank chief Mr Kim was speaking during a visit to Ethiopia, where he accompanied UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

"Right now, I'm very much worried about where we will find those healthcare workers," he said.

"With the fear factor going out of control in so many places, I hope healthcare professionals will understand that when they took their oath to become a health care worker it was precisely for moments like this," he added.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim made an emotional appeal for help
Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Health workers arrive to pick up the body of a young victim in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Mr Ban said that transmission rates in West Africa continued to outstrip the pace of the international response.

He added that imposing travel restrictions on affected countries would severely curtail efforts to beat the disease.

In other developments:

  • A Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola on American soil is due to be discharged from hospital on Tuesday after being declared free of the virus
  • Australia's decision to suspend entry visas for people from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa is criticised, with Uganda's presidency accusing Western countries of "creating mass panic"
  • New US federal guidelines say that medics returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa should be actively monitored but not placed in quarantine - but some states say they will continue with their quarantine polices
  • Separately, the US Army has imposed a 21-day monitoring period for all soldiers returning from the region
Media caption,

The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse reports from Monrovia in Liberia: ''Ebola robs its victims of their dignity''

Meanwhile in Mali, 82 people who had contact with a toddler who died from Ebola are now being monitored, according to Reuters.

The country recently became the sixth West African nation to report an outbreak.

Officials are concerned that the disease, which has so far been largely restricted to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, may spread.

Media caption,

Dr Stacey Mearns talks of the "shocking" conditions on the ground as she works on the Ebola frontline in Sierra Leone

Since the boy died last week there have been no new reported cases.

There have been 4,922 deaths from the Ebola virus, according to the World Health Organization's latest figures.

All but 27 of the cases have occurred inside Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

The virus spreads through close contact and health officials say stopping the spread of the disease in the areas hardest hit by the outbreak will prevent Ebola's spread to other countries.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Media caption,

How Ebola survivors’ blood is saving lives

  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
  • No proven vaccine or cure
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus's natural host

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