Ebola an urgent global crisis demands urgent global response: Kerry

 Asserting that Ebola is an urgent global crisis that demands an urgent global response, US Secretary of State John Kerry today asked countries to step up their efforts to combat the deadly and fast-spreading disease.

PTI| Updated: Oct 09, 2014, 06:00 AM IST

Washington: Asserting that Ebola is an urgent global crisis that demands an urgent global response, US Secretary of State John Kerry today asked countries to step up their efforts to combat the deadly and fast-spreading disease.

"Ebola is an urgent global crisis that demands an urgent global response. The United States has intensified every aspect of our engagement, and that includes providing Ebola treatment units, recruiting first responders, and supplying a critical set of medical equipment," Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference here with his British counterpart.

"I'm here this morning to make an urgent plea to countries in the world to step up even further. While we are making progress, we are not where we can say that where we need to be. And there are additional needs that have to be met in order for the global community to be able to prop," he said.

There are specific needs, he said, urging more countries to move resources of specific kinds.

"It is not just a question of sending people, though it is vital to send people. But we need Ebola treatment units. We need health care workers. We need medevac capacity. We need mobile laboratory and staff. We need non-medical support: telecommunications, generators, incinerators, public communications capacity, training, construction," he said.

"We also need large assistance of health systems, strengthening of cash that countries could contribute, budget support, food, other humanitarian efforts. And we need ways of getting that equipment to people. All of these things are frankly urgent in order to be able to quickly move to contain the spread of Ebola," he added.

"We need airlines to continue to operate in West Africa. And we need borders to remain open. We need to strengthen the medevac capacity. We need countries to contribute more Ebola treatment centers. We need other African countries with the capacity to send responders to join the effort. We need to make sure that the health care workers who go are properly trained, properly equipped, and supported in order to prevent additional infections," he said.

The US and Britain, he said, have contributed USD 120 million to the United Nations' response.

There are smaller countries that have stepped up to the plate. Some smaller countries are contributing way above their per capita population compared to other countries, he said.

"But the fact is more countries can and must step up in order to make their contributions felt," he reiterated.

"The United Nations has identified USD 1 billion in urgent needs. The World Bank has put in 22 per cent. The US has put in 11 per cent. Private sector, 10 per cent. But this unfunded is a critical component of our ability to be able to meet this challenge. And we need people to step up now. Now is the time for action, not words. And, frankly, there is not a moment to waste in this effort," Kerry said.