A HEALTH expert has raised concern over the Ebola outbreak, warning it will likely affect funding for HIV and Aids as donor countries try to respond to the pandemic which has hit hard West Africa.
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director Itai Rusike said the Ebola outbreak was not only for African governments, but for the whole world to act on it.
“The Ebola response will definitely strain the HIV and Aids resources as the focus may shift towards the current epidemic and some of the gains achieved in HIV and Aids may be lost,” Rusike said.
“The current Ebola epidemic is not one only for African governments. It requires a global response to mobilise resources so that we don’t collapse existing health programmes such as the HIV and Aids response.”
Ebola has wreaked havoc in West Africa with Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia being the most affected countries.
Over 3 000 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with 6 242 reported Ebola cases.
Nigeria and Senegal have recorded around eight deaths and 21 cases of infection.
CWGH expressed solidarity with those working and living in areas affected by Ebola.
“We acknowledge the dedication of governments, health care workers, civil society organisations and concerned individuals struggling to prevent the spread of Ebola,” Rusike said.
“We acknowledge the sacrifice being made and unfaltering service in extremely challenging conditions with limited resources.”
Rusike said recognising the importance of community participation was vital in dealing with epidemics.
“We call on the government to recognise the rights of communities to participate in the response of health crisis such as Ebola.”
Zimbabwe has been on high alert after Ebola cases were reported in the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo.