EU assistance to help contain the Ebola virus in West Africa

Created on Monday, 08 September 2014 Published on Monday, 08 September 2014

The Ebola virus has been spreading over parts of West Africa since February and has already claimed nearly 2 000 lives. It has become increasingly difficult to manage the widespread emergency, as challenges related to transport, coordination, equipment, and the availability of medical staff become more prevalent.

Efforts in transporting supplies and personnel have encountered multiple challenges, as many global airlines have limited or cancelled their scheduled flights for fear of spreading the disease further. Closure of borders, suspension of flights, and absence of traffic rights granted for air ambulances for example, are all making it harder to ease the situation. There is also a lack of medical equipment to ensure patient isolation and protect medical staff. Limited access to some areas in the affected countries complicates the registration and isolation of patients.

The European Commission has been actively providing humanitarian aid, expertise and international coordination. Currently, humanitarian aid allocations from the European Commission amount to €11.9 million. These funds are used to help contain the epidemic and ensure immediate healthcare to the affected populations. The funds go towards the clinical management of cases, including the isolation of patients and their psychosocial support, the tracing of suspected cases, the training and supply of personal protective equipment, conducting communication outreach on hygiene and disease awareness, as well as providing guidance to national authorities.