65 Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa. Nâ€™Djamena, Chad. 23 -27 November, 2015 th
Statement of the International Federation of Medical Studentsâ€™ Associations on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak: Lessons Learnt and Way Forward
Honourable chair, distinguished delegates, The International Federation of Medical Studentsâ€™ Association (IFMSA) applauds the efforts made by the WHO, Member States and particularly the health workers in helping to control the Ebola outbreak. We appreciate the leadership displayed in coordinating responses to manage the epidemic and also the spirit of solidarity shown by the member states towards the affected countries. The Ebola outbreak was an eye opener for the need to increase efforts in putting in place rapid, flexible, timely and efficient surveillance and response systems to emergencies and disease outbreaks. Throughout the outbreak, our National Member Organizations in Sierra-Leone and Guinea, with the Kick Ebola Out campaign, showed an excellent example of how young people can build capacity and respond to such events. Medical students organised door-to-door education and mass campaigns in mostly rural areas to raise awareness on the epidemic and educate the public on modes of transmission and prevention. The KickEbolaOut mobile application was created as a bank of knowledge about the disease and the outbreak. Our members have also started the Ebola Orphan Care Program which seeks to support children who have lost their parents due to the Ebola Virus Outbreak, by visiting the communities, providing clothes, books and other materials. It is our fervent hope that never again should such an epidemic take so many lives in our Region. Therefore, we would like to call international organisations and African Members States to strengthen the health surveillance and response systems. There is also a need to build a resilient and well-equipped workforce that would be able to respond rapidly to such emergencies. In the light of such disasters, local community leaders, civil society networks, youth activists must be actively engaged. We would like to highlight that the social and economic impact of the epidemic must be assessed by the Member States and international organisations, in order to solve the aftermath problems. We must all learn from what has happened and improve in order to ensure that the communities would not suffer like this again. Thank you for your attention!