WHO Director-General visits Mali to bolster UN support to the Ebola outbreak

November 2014

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, visited an Ebola treatment centre in Bamako, Mali. She met with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Prime Minister Moussa Mara, and other government leaders to discuss Mali’s ongoing Ebola outbreak response and ways United Nations organizations could enhance their support.

WHO Director-General visits the Ebola treatment centre, Mali.
WHO Mali/Yvette Bivigou

The visit occurred as the Government announced a new case of Ebola and said 2 more suspected patients were being tested.

At least 5 people have died from Ebola in Mali already, and the country has been working diligently to trace several hundred contacts of the recent Ebola cases to prevent extensive spread of the disease in the country.

"This rapid response was essential to prevent the disease from spreading."

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General

Rapid response essential

"In the past few weeks, Mali has responded quickly to find people who came into contact with someone infected with the disease," says Dr Chan. "This rapid response was essential to prevent the disease from spreading. It is vital right now that WHO and all other UN organizations working in Mali support the Government in maintaining this strong response until we are certain this outbreak is contained."

Dr Chan also met with the Centre for Vaccine Development where a vaccine against the virus is currently in the first phase of human testing and with other UN agencies and civil society groups working in communities to prevent the spread of Ebola.

"The President and Prime Minister committed to strong leadership and coordination in this response especially with community organizations," said Dr Chan. "We know one of the most important elements to containing Ebola is robust community engagement with influential community leaders to fight stigma and utilize communications to advocate safe cultural practices."

WHO Director-General meets WHO staff of Mali office, November 2014.
WHO Mali/Yvette Bivigou

UN support

The United Nations is ramping up support on many fronts to support both the preparedness and response efforts of the Government including with the announcement on Friday that the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) would establish an office in the country.

These positive changes plus the support of the UN and other partners will enhance Mali's capability and capacity to contain transmission from the second case across the border, and respond robustly to any future importation.