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US official thanks Cuba for health efforts

Updated: 2014-10-31 07:55
By Agencies in Havana, Elizabethtown and Pyongyang (China Daily)

US official thanks Cuba for health efforts 

Nelson Arboleda, director of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention for Central America, speaks in Havana, Cuba, on Wednesday before the start of a regional meeting on fighting Ebola in Latin America and Africa. Franklin Reyes / Associated Press

A US government health official attended an Ebola meeting in Havana, Cuba, on Wednesday, signaling the two nations' desire to cooperate in a fight against the deadly epidemic.

At the meeting on the region's response, Nelson Arboleda, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Central America, underscored the importance of regional cooperation.

"We know the disease, we know how to stop the cycle of transmission and what to do, we just have to work to implement our efforts," said Arboleda, Cuban Communist Party daily Granma reported.

Arboleda also "acknowledged ... Cuba's contribution to the fight against the Ebola virus," Cuba's National Information Agency said.

Cuba sent more than 200 doctors and healthcare workers to West Africa immediately following a call for international aid from the World Health Organization.

The Caribbean nation, in conjunction with Venezuela, also organized the two-day meeting, which began Tuesday, to coordinate measures to prevent the spread of the often fatal disease.

Arboleda "thanked the Cuban government for calling on regional nations to coordinate strategies to fight the scourge", the news agency said.

Liberia in need

Liberia needs help from US troops, more ambulances and food to cope with the Ebola crisis, but the deadly disease can be brought under control by the end of the year, its ambassador to the United States said on Wednesday.

With enough support from outside, "we could see a good sign of improvement" during the next two months, Jeremiah Sulunteh said on Wednesday at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania, where he delivered a lecture about the challenges facing Liberia.

He said a plan to have 3,000 US troops train Liberian healthcare workers and set up containment centers is key to the recovery effort in Liberia, which is among three West African countries hardest hit by the lethal virus.

An ambulance shortage has resulted in sick people spreading the disease because they must use public transportation to get medical help, he said. Food shortages are also a growing threat, he said.

"I feel strongly that food will be a problem because a lot of farms were abandoned, a lot of farmers were killed," he said. "People did not have the chance to go back to look after their farms."

Sulunteh also said he would support the use of trial vaccines on Ebola patients.

Thirty-eight new Ebola cases were reported last week - down from a weekly peak of more than 100. So far, 2,700 Liberians have died of Ebola.

Quarantine in DPRK

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea plans to quarantine all foreigners who enter the country to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, the State Emergency Anti-epidemic Committee said on Wednesday. It didn't specify when to start the quarantine measures would begin.

The committee said it will take emergency measures against Ebola's spread, and all foreigners who enter the country will be subjected to a 21-day quarantine at designated places and medical observation by health workers.

AP - Xinhua

 

 

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