UN ends Ebola emergency mission as spread slows down

The United Nations has shut down its Ebola mission in West Africa amidst reports as new cases of the epidemic hit lowest level in a long time.
The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), with headquarters in Ghana`s capital Accra, came into being in September 2014 at the height of the epidemic, and it was tasked with ensuring the immediate needs related to the fight against the disease which has claimed over 11, 000 lives in the three worst affected countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The UNMEER, the first-ever UN emergency health mission, had coordinating offices in the affected countries. Its office in Liberia was closed after that country was declared Ebola free back in May.
This week the remaining offices in Guinea and Sierra Leone were shutdown.
“The Mission has achieved its core objective of scaling up the response on the ground and establishing unity of purpose among responders in support of the nationally led efforts,” said UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon in a statement.
“As we continue to actively strive to end the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we have reached an important milestone in the global Ebola response,” the UN boss added.
The announcement comes amidst reports of the lowest record of new cases in a long time.
There were seven confirmed cases of the viral disease during the week ending July 26 – four in Guinea and three in Sierra Leone, according to the latest WHO Ebola situation report which says it`s the lowest weekly total for over a year.
But in Sierra Leone the announcement comes amidst uncertainty occasioned by the mass quarantining of people in the north of the country, a situation occasioned by the death of a business man who travelled from the capital Freetown.
Two slums in the city, one of which is suspected to be the source of the latest case, are under close supervision by authorities.
To ensure some measure of assurance, the UN says it is maintaining its Ebola crisis management teams in the region and they will take orders from World Health Organisation (WHO).
As of Aug. 1, WHO country offices in the affected countries will provide the oversight role in the UN`s response to the epidemic. WHO director-general Margaret Chan will have direct supervision of the affairs.