The World Health Organization (WHO) issued this week a roadmap to guide and organise the international response to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa.
The organisation aims is to stop the ongoing transmission worldwide within 6–9 months, while rapidly managing the consequences of any further international spread.
It also recognises the need to address, in parallel, the outbreak’s broader socioeconomic impact.
It responds to the urgent need to dramatically scale up the international response. Nearly 40% of the total number of reported cases have occurred within the past three weeks.
The roadmap was informed by comments received from a large number of partners, including health officials in the affected countries, the African Union, development banks, other UN agencies, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and countries providing direct financial support.
It will serve as a framework for updating detailed operational plans. Priority is being given to needs for treatment and management centres, social mobilization, and safe burials. These plans will be based on site-specific data that are being set out in regular situation reports, which will begin this week.
The situation reports map the hotspots and hot zones, present epidemiological data showing how the outbreak is evolving over time, and communicate what is known about the location of treatment facilities and laboratories, together with data needed to support other elements of the roadmap.
The roadmap covers the health dimensions of the international response. These dimensions include key potential bottlenecks requiring international coordination, such as the supply of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, and body bag.
The WHO roadmap will be complemented by the development of a separate UN-wide operational platform that brings in the skills and capacities of other agencies, including assets in the areas of logistics and transportation. The UN-wide platform aims to facilitate the delivery of essential services, such as food and other provisions, water supply and sanitation, and primary health care.
Resource flows to implement the roadmap will be tracked separately, with support from the World Bank.