UNIC, Lagos Government, SMILE, partner to mark International Youth Day

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, in collaboration with Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE) and the Lagos State Government office for Youth and Social Development observed the 2014 International Youth Day with panel discussion on the theme: Youth and Mental Health – Mental Health matters’.
The event which attracted 828 participants comprising of 46% female and 54% male; representatives of 23 media organisations; 35 voluntary and non-governmental organisations; five government Agencies and four United Nations organisations, featured four panelists which included a Psychiatrist, Wellness Expert, Psycho-therapist and a general Medical Practitioner.

A cross-section of participants

A cross-section of participants

In his message on the occasion, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, noted that “Mental health is how we feel; it is our emotions and well-being. We all need to take care of our mental health so that we lead satisfying lives. Let us begin to talk about our mental-health in the same way we talk about our overall health.” The message which was read by UNIC Lagos Senior Public Information Officer, Ms Envera Selimovic, added that everyone should remember that with understanding and assistance, young people with mental health conditions could flourish and make valuable contributions to our collective future.
Resource persons and Partners with UNIC, Snr. Info. Officer, Envera Selimovic (Centre) and UNIC, NIO, Oluseyi Soremekun (2nd left)

Resource persons and Partners with UNIC, Snr. Info. Officer, Envera Selimovic (Centre) and UNIC, NIO, Oluseyi Soremekun (2nd left)

Setting the tone for the panel discussion were Miss Amaka Efughi (23 years) and Mr Kalid Sotonye (22 years) who gave testimonies about their past drug addiction and mental conditions which cost them their university education at the time and six years of their lives. They expressed their happiness about their rescue, rehabilitation and re-enrolment back to the university.

In her welcome address, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Hon. Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, urged stakeholders to pay attention to the 15 factors that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified as relevant to mental health among youth, some of which are education, unemployment, poverty, drug abuse, armed conflicts, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), among others. She was represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth and Social Development, Dr Dolapo Badru.
The occasion was also used to disseminate preventive public information on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) when UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, made a presentation on “Ebola: What you need to know” while officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Health later distributed public information leaflets on the disease.

Closing the event, the President, Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE), Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins, thanked UNIC for its commitment to promoting partnership and synergy with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) in addressing some societal issues that are of interest to the United Nations.

Nigeria achieves 35% drop in new HIV infections

ABUJA, 17 July 2014 – A new global report by UNAIDS indicates that new HIV infections in Nigeria have declined by 35% in the past three years.
UNAIDS-logo-FFADFA3139-seeklogo_comThe Gap report released in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16 July 2014 also indicates that Nigeria is part of the countries in the world that realized a rapid increase in the number of people living with HIV that are accessing Antiretroviral therapy.

“The decline in new infections is a clear sign that the Government of Nigeria is steering the HIV response in the right direction and much progress can be realized if more resources are committed to the cause,” said the UNAIDS Country Director in Nigeria, Dr. Bilali Camara.

According to the report, new infections showed signs of decline while about 640,000 people in Nigeria were on antiretroviral therapy in 2013. However, there is a need for much more work to be done in the country in order to eliminate HIV by 2030.

“HIV testing is critical to the provision of care and treatment. In line with the President’s Comprehensive Response Plan for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, if Nigeria commits resources to helping 80 million people in the country know their HIV status by end of 2015, more people can be put on treatment and new infections and AIDS-related deaths could drop drastically,” said Dr. Camara.

The report highlights eight action points to support ending the AIDS epidemic, including: securing leadership, protection of human rights, investing in communities, focusing on local epidemics and populations, decentralizing delivery of HIV services, expanding the choices for HIV prevention and treatment, integrating HIV programmes with other health and development programmes, as well as innovating and investing in science for a cure and vaccine.

Charles-Martin Jjuuko, Tel: +234 806 809 2984, Email: jjuukoc@unaids.org

SRSG Said Djinnit, Malala Yousafzai, meet on Chibok girls

Abuja, 15 July, 2014. The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Western Africa, and High-Level Representative of the Secretary-General to Nigeria Mr. Said Djinnit, met yesterday in Abuja with Girls’ education activist, Ms Malala Yousafzai. They discussed support to the escapees from the abducted Chibok school girls, their families and the affected communities in general.
SRSG and Malala 3
Mr Djinnit who arrived in Nigeria at the weekend in continuation of his high level consultations in relation to the abduction of the school girls and the general security situation in north eastern Nigeria, noted that the United Nations system in Nigeria had started implementing an integrated support package for the North-East, which includes provisions for assistance to the Chibok girls, their families and affected communities. Mr Djinnit paid tribute to Malala for her courage and devotion for the promotion of girls education.
SRSG and Malala
Responding, Malala expressed concern about the plight of the abducted girls and urged the United Nations to assist the escapees from the abducted Chibok girls to go back to school. ‘The Malala Fund,’ she added, ‘would be willing to partner with the United Nations efforts to mitigate the impact of the abduction on the girls and their parents.
Ms Malala briefed SRSG Djinnit on the productive meeting she had with President Goodluck earlier on the issue of the abducted school girls.

SRSG Djinnit renews UN support to ECOWAS

Dakar, 10 July 2014 – The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for West Africa, Mr. Said Djinnit, attended the 45th Ordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, held on 10th July in Accra.
In his address to the ECOWAS leaders, the Special Representative commended the tireless efforts deployed by ECOWAS to address the core socio-economic and governance challenges confronting West African countries, as well as regional peace and security issues.

SRSG Djinnit paid tribute to ECOWAS for its leadership and contribution in the process that led to the successful conclusion of the political transition in Guinea-Bissau, including the holding of peaceful and transparent elections with a widely accepted outcome. He assured that the United Nations will continue to work closely with the regional organization and other stakeholders, in assisting the government of Guinea-Bissau to consolidate these crucial democratic advances, and in mobilizing international efforts towards the implementation of the necessary reforms for long-term stability in the country.

The Special Representative also reaffirmed the continued commitment of the United Nations in all efforts and initiatives to bring lasting peace in Mali in line with the last UNSC Resolution 2164 that extended and expanded the mandate of MINUSMA. He welcomed ongoing efforts towards resuming inclusive dialogue in Algiers in line with the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement.

Mr. Djinnit commended ECOWAS commitment to addressing the scourge of transnational organized crime, including drug trafficking, piracy and criminality at sea, as well as growing terrorist activities.

Mr. Djinnit stressed the excellent cooperation between ECOWAS, the Mano River Union (MRU) and UN in the development and implementation of the Strategy for Cross-Border Security in the MRU. He commended the recent adoption by ECOWAS of its Integrated Maritime Strategy, in the context of ECOWAS, ECCAS, the Gulf of Guinea Commission and UN consultations to establish appropriate mechanisms for addressing piracy and criminality at sea. He also welcomed the organization’s willingness to coordinate with other initiatives for the Sahel.

The Special Representative for West Africa stressed the deep concern of UN regarding the growing threat posed by violent extremism and terrorism in the larger Sahel region as well as in North-Eastern Nigeria. “We urge the countries of the region to pool their resources and cooperate effectively in addressing this threat, with the support of the rest of the international community”, he declared.

On the situation in Nigeria, the Special Representative stated that the primary and immediate concern of the United Nations is the plight of children including in particular those that are being held in captivity by the terrorist Boko Haram group, as well as the fate of the civilian population in the North East, where human rights and humanitarian conditions are alarming. In this regard, he announced that pursuant to Security Council Agenda on Children in Situations of Armed Conflict and the recent report of the Secretary-General, the United Nations will enhance its monitoring and investigation capacity regarding violence against children in Nigeria.

As many countries in West Africa are preparing to hold elections in 2015, Mr. Djinnit firmly reaffirmed UN commitment to assist ECOWAS, the African Union and other key organizations to assist in creating propitious conditions for peaceful, free and fair election processes.

“I wish to reiterate that the UN will remain by the side of ECOWAS, its Governments and people as they struggle towards a more peaceful and prosperous future”, he concluded.

Momentum builds to achieve more Millennium Development Goals by end of 2015: UN report

With many MDG targets met and aid monies hitting record highs, other lagging targets need final push to seize on results and available solutions
Millions of people’s lives have improved due to concerted global, regional, national and local efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which serve as the foundation for the next global development agenda, according to a new report launched today by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

With many MDG targets already met on reducing poverty, increasing access to improved drinking water sources, improving the lives of slum dwellers and achieving gender parity in primary school, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014 says many more targets are within reach by their 2015 target date. If trends continue, the world will surpass MDG targets on malaria, tuberculosis and access to HIV treatment, and the hunger target looks within reach. Other targets, such as access to technologies, reduction of average tariffs, debt relief, and growing political participation by women, show great progress.

The MDG report is based on comprehensive official statistics and provides the most up-to-date summary of all Goals and their targets at global and regional levels, with additional national statistics available online. Results show that concentrated efforts to achieve MDG targets by national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector are working to lift people out of extreme poverty and improve their futures.

“The Millennium Development Goals were a pledge to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity, and free the world from extreme poverty,” Mr. Ban said. “The MDGs, with eight goals and a set of measurable time-bound targets, established a blueprint for tackling the most pressing development challenges of our time.”

Saving lives in many ways
According to the report, big MDG gains continue. Over the past 20 years, the likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half, which means about 17,000 children are saved every day. Globally, the maternal mortality ratio dropped by 45 per cent between 1990 and 2013. Antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected people has saved 6.6 million lives since 1995, and expanding its coverage could save many more. Between 2000 and 2012, an estimated 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted due to substantial expansion of malaria interventions. Since 1995, efforts to fight tuberculosis saved an estimated 22 million lives.

MDGs a foundation for next development agenda
With the targets for the MDGs set to conclude at the end of 2015, UN Member States are in the midst of considering a broader set of goals to follow that are likely to be agreed to by world leaders in September 2015. The report says continued progress towards the MDGs in the remaining year is essential for what comes next.

“Member States are now fully engaged in discussions to define Sustainable Development Goals, which will serve as the core of a universal post-2015 development agenda,” Mr. Ban said. “Our efforts to achieve the MDGs are a critical building block towards establishing a stable foundation for our development efforts beyond 2015.”

However, some MDG targets related to largely preventable problems with available solutions, such as reducing child and maternal mortality and increasing access to sanitation, are slipping away from achievement by 2015, despite major progress. The report calls on all stakeholders to focus and intensify efforts on the areas where advances have been too slow or not reached all.

Ending open defecation key to greater MDG success
Since 1990, 2.3 billion people have gained access to an improved drinking water source. Over one-quarter of the world’s population has gained access to improved sanitation since 1990, yet one billion people still resort to open defecation. The vast majority—82 per cent—of people practicing open defecation now live in middle-income, populous countries. Much greater effort and investment will be needed to alter inadequate sanitation facilities.

Accelerated action using known solutions needed to help women and children
Worldwide, almost 300,000 women died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal death is mostly preventable, however. Most pregnant women in developing regions see a skilled health provider at least once, but only half get the recommended four antenatal check-ups. Preventable conditions, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, are the main killers for children under age five. In 2012, an estimated 25 per cent of children under age five were stunted—having inadequate height for their age. While this is a significant decline from 40 per cent in 1990, 162 million young children still suffer from preventable chronic under-nutrition.

Ninety per cent of children in developing regions are attending primary school. Half of the 58 million out-of school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas. Children in conflict-affected areas, girls from poor rural households and children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school. High dropout rates remain a barrier to universal primary education.

Aid money hit record highs, but in decline to the poorest countries
After two years of declines, official development assistance hit a record high of $134.8 billion in 2013. However, aid shifted away from the poorest countries where attainment of the MDGs often lags the most. Eighty per cent of imports from developing countries entered developed countries duty-free, and tariffs remained at an all-time low. The debt burden of developing countries remained stable at about 3 per cent of export revenue, which was a near 75 per cent drop since 2000.

Better data would help deliver better results
Despite considerable advancements in recent years, the report says reliable statistics for monitoring development remain inadequate in many countries, but better statistical reporting on the MDGs has led to real results. For example, the number of Member States submitting progress reports on HIV/AIDS increased from 102 in 2004 to 186 in 2012. This helped galvanise global efforts. Funding for HIV programmes more than tripled compared to 2004, and 9.5 million people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral treatment in 2012.
The Millennium Development Goals Report, an annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the Goals, reflects the most comprehensive, up-to-date data compiled by over 28 UN and international agencies and is produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. A complete set of the data used to prepare the report is available at mdgs.un.org

For more information, see www.un.org/millenniumgoals

New York: UN Department of Public Information
Mr. Wynne Boelt, boelt@un.org, +1 212-963-8264
Lagos: Mr. Oluseyi Soremekun, soremekun@un.org, 0802 402 2085

#BringBackOurGirls echoes at MDG Report 2014 regional launch in Lagos

The clamour for the save return of over 200 school girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents at Chibok, Borno State, North-East Nigeria, on 14 April, 2014, was further reinforced during the regional launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report 2014 held at the UN Information Centre Lagos, as the students of Lagos State Model College, Kankon Badagry, in their drama presentation at the occasion, creatively displayed “Bring Back Our Girls” graphics which elicited a supportive expression from the audience.

Students of Lagos State Model College, Kankon Badagry, Lagos.

Students of Lagos State Model College, Kankon Badagry, Lagos.

“We are your daughters, mothers and leaders of tomorrow. We are born equal. ‘Boko’ is not ‘Haram’ (Education is not forbidden)”, they added in graphics.
Students of Lagos State Model College, Kankon Badagry, Lagos

Students of Lagos State Model College, Kankon Badagry, Lagos

The students’ presentation titled, ‘One Goal’ was a dance drama interspersed with poetic renditions of the gains of the MDGs. Obviously enjoying the performance, the participants sang along and applauded the students intermittently as they sang, danced and acted simultaneously. It was electrifying and instructive. What an ‘infortainment’!

SRSG Djinnit encourages integrated regional initiatives for durable stability in West Africa

Dakar, 09 July 2014 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for West Africa and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mr. Said Djinnit, briefed yesterday the United Nations Security Council at the occasion of the presentation of the 13th report of the Secretary-General report on the activities of UNOWA.

Mr. Djinnit commended the effort by the region to promote development and economic growth, while acknowledging the challenges for West African countries to meet social expectations. He saluted the peaceful conclusion of the political transition in Guinea Bissau as well as the resumption of dialogue between the Government and the armed movements in Mali.

With regard to the capacity to respond to crises, the Special Representative welcomed the steps being taken by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) towards setting up appropriate rapid response mechanisms.

Identifying the critical challenges that have a potential to undermine peace and stability in West Africa, the Special Representative highlighted the transnational security challenges, including organized crime, drug trafficking, piracy and criminality at sea, as well as the growing activities of terrorist networks. He called on West African countries to establish effective strategic and operational cooperation mechanisms.

As a new electoral cycle will commence in the West African region in 2015, SRSG Djinnit warned of the polarized context in some of countries involved, and recommended that all efforts should be directed towards preserving stability and consolidating democracy through dialogue.

Mr. Djinnit highlighted the importance of the integrated regional initiatives, which are being supported by UNOWA, in close collaboration with ECOWAS, and which include the strategy for cross-border security in the Mano River Union (MRU), the strategic framework for maritime security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea, and the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. He particularly reiterated his belief in the potential of the Mano River Union to become a beacon of prosperity and stability in West Africa, and insisted on the need for coordination and complementarity of efforts with regard to the international action in Sahel.

SRSG Djinnit, who is also the High Representative of the Secretary-General in the context of the ongoing insecurity in Nigeria, deplored that the school girls abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok in April 2014 remain in captivity, and that the level of violence against innocent civilians continue unabated, resulting in tragic losses of human lives and significant displacement of populations, and adversely affecting security in the sub region.

‘Nigeria is at a crossroads’, said Said Djinnit, assessing the overall situation in the country amidst the political tensions in the period leading up to the 2015 general elections. In that regard, he called on the Council members to continue to lend their support to efforts and initiatives aimed at ensuring stability in Nigeria, a country that has been playing a pivotal role in the maintenance of regional peace and security.

SRSG Djinnit particularly encouraged the countries of the Lake Chad Basin to consolidate their joint action within the framework of the Paris Summit and the London follow up ministerial meeting, and welcomed the prospect of the African Union to deploy a Task Force to the region to address the challenge posed by the activities of Boko Haram.

MDGs, a foundation for post-2015 agenda – Resident Coordinator

The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations system in Nigeria, Mr Daouda Toure has emphasised that the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) constitute the foundation for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. He explained that member States of the United Nations (UN), including Nigeria, are in discussions to define sustainable development goals, to serve as a core of a Universal post 2015 Agenda.

(R-L) The Economic Advisor, UNDP Abuja, Ms Colleen Zamba (representing the Resident Coordinator) and the Director of Economic Planning and Development, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Seun Akinsanya (representing Lagos State Governor)

(R-L) The Economic Advisor, UNDP Abuja, Ms Colleen Zamba (representing the Resident Coordinator) and the Director of Economic Planning and Development, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Seun Akinsanya (representing Lagos State Governor)

Mr Toure made this emphasis at the regional launch of the MDG Report 2014 organised by and held at the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, just as the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon noted at the global launch of the report in New York that sustained progress towards the MDGs in the remaining year is essential to provide a solid foundation for the post-2015 development agenda.
The co-launchers, resource persons and some students

The co-launchers, resource persons and some students

The regional launch which was attended by over 190 participants comprising of seven Television Channels, five Radio Stations, six National Dailies, representatives of six Secondary Schools, twenty Non-Governmental Organizations and six UN Agencies, Programmes and Funds including the UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM, UNAIDS, UNODC and WHO, also featured an interactive session and a drama presentation by the students of Lagos State model college, Badagry.
A cross-section of participants

A cross-section of participants

Represented by the Economic Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Abuja, Ms Colleen Zamba, the Resident Coordinator urged development partners to continue the fruitful collaboration which would help Nigeria take meaningful and transformative steps needed to accelerate progress to achieve the MDGs by 2015.
In his address, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) represented by the Director of Economic Planning and Development, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Seun Akinsanya, said that the State was committed to improving and strengthening its MDGs performances.
Ms Colleen Zamba representing the Resident Coordinator, Mr Daouda Toure

Ms Colleen Zamba representing the Resident Coordinator, Mr Daouda Toure

Earlier, the Senior Public Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Ms Envera Selimovic, welcomed the participants to the Centre while the President, Strategy for Mentoring Initiative & Leadership Empowerment (S.M.I.L.E), Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins (BBM) spoke on “The role of youths in MDG acceleration beyond 2015″. The National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, provided an overview of the MDG Report 2014 including the MDG progress chart on Nigeria.????????
The Governor and the Resident Coordinator jointly launched the report.

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

Disease outbreak news
7 July 2014
Epidemiology and surveillance

WHO continues to monitor the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The current epidemic trend shows a mixed picture, as follows:
• Liberia reported 16 new EVD cases and Sierra Leone, 34 new cases –since 3 July. These numbers indicate that active viral transmission continues in the community.
• There has been a reduction in the number of new EVD cases reported in Guinea, with no new cases during the last 7 days.

WHO continues to encourage and support outbreak containment measures in the three countries.

Health sector response

Health Ministers and technical staff from 11 countries, representatives from WHO, and key international partner organizations met in an Emergency Ministerial meeting in Accra, Ghana July 2 and 3 to address the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa. After hearing technical updates and sharing country and field experiences, they agreed on a strategy for an accelerated operational response to control the outbreak with priority actions to address the serious threat to countries in West Africa.

In agreeing to priorities and actions, it was acknowledged that a number of gaps and challenges remain. To address these, the World Health Organization (WHO) will establish a Sub-Regional Centre in Guinea to act as a coordinating platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support to West African countries by all major partners and to assist in resource mobilization. Delegates to the meeting also emphasized the importance of WHO leading an international effort to promote research on EVD and other haemorrhagic fevers.

Among the key priorities at this time are:
• mobilization of community, religious, and political leaders to improve awareness about and understanding of EVD;
• strengthening surveillance, case finding, and contact tracing;
• deploying additional human resources with relevant qualifications to key hot spots;
• identifying and committing additional domestic financial resources;
• organizing cross-border consultations to facilitate an ongoing exchange of information; and
• working together and sharing experiences with countries that have previously managed EVD outbreaks in the spirit of south-south cooperation.

In addition, national intersectoral meetings involving key government ministries, national technical committees, and other stakeholders will be held to map out a plan for immediate implementation of a sub-regional response strategy. It has also been recommended that issues related specifically to the EVD outbreak be addressed at an upcoming summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of States.

WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone based on the current information available for this event.

Disease update:

New cases and deaths attributable to Ebola virus disease (EVD) continue to be reported by the Ministries of Health in the three West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Between 3 and 6 July 2014, 50 new cases of EVD, including 25 deaths, were reported from the three countries as follows: Guinea, 0 new cases and 2 deaths; Liberia, 16 new cases with 9 deaths; and Sierra Leone 34 new cases and 14 deaths. These numbers include laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases and deaths of EVD.

Health Ministers agree on priority actions to end Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Accra, 03 July 2014 – The Emergency Ministerial meeting on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has ended today with Health Ministers agreeing on a range of priority actions to end the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The scale of the ongoing outbreak is unprecedented with reports of over 750 cases and 445 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since March 2014.

In a Communiqué issued at the end of the two-day meeting, the Ministers agreed that the current situation poses a serious threat to all countries in the region and beyond and called for immediate action. They expressed concern on the adverse social and economic impact of the outbreak and stressed the need for coordinated actions by all stakeholders, national leadership, enhanced cross-border collaboration and community participation in the response.

Speaking at the closing session, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo commended the Ministers and said: “We have adopted an inter-country strategy to tackle this outbreak. It’s time for concrete action to put an end to the suffering and deaths caused by Ebola virus disease and prevent its further spread”.

In spite of the ongoing efforts to tackle the outbreak, there was consensus that a number of gaps and challenges remain. These relate to coordination of the outbreak, financing, communication, cross border collaboration, logistics, case management, infection control, surveillance, contact tracing, community participation and research.

The World Health Organization will establish a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea to act as a coordinating platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support to West African countries by all major partners; and assist in resource mobilization. The delegates also underscored the importance of WHO leading an international effort to promote research on Ebola virus disease and other hemorrhagic fevers.

The Ministers adopted a common inter-country strategy which highlights the following key priority actions for the affected countries:
• Convene national inter-sectoral meetings involving key government ministries, national technical committees and other stakeholders to map out a plan for immediate implementation of the strategy.
• Mobilise community, religious, political leaders to improve awareness, and the understanding of the disease
• Strengthen surveillance, case finding reporting and contact tracing
• Deploy additional national human resources with the relevant qualifications to key hot spots.
• Identify and commit additional domestic financial resources
• Organise cross-border consultations to facilitate exchange of information
• Work and share experiences with countries that have previously managed Ebola outbreaks in the spirit of south-south cooperation

The delegates also urged partners to continue providing technical and financial support and work with WHO to effectively coordinate the response. In an effort to promote regional leadership, and highlight the seriousness of the outbreak, the delegates strongly recommended that the forthcoming Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of States summit addresses the issue of EVD outbreak.

In March 2014 Guinea notified WHO about cases of Ebola virus Disease. The cases were initially confined to rural Guinea with the epicenter being Gueckedou. What started as a rural outbreak has now spread to Conakry the capital of Guinea as well as cross border spread into Sierra Leone and Liberia. The current Ebola outbreak has surpassed all other outbreaks in terms of cases, deaths and geographic spread across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In an effort to interrupt further spread of this virus in the shortest possible time, the World Health Organization convened an Emergency Ministerial meeting in Accra, Ghana from 2-3 July 2014 involving eleven (11) countries mostly from West Africa and a number of key international partners involved in the Ebola outbreak response. The aim of the meeting was to discuss how to contain the disease, share experiences and agree on a strategy for an accelerated operational response to bring an end to the outbreak.