Ebola epidemic – Joint statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Minister of Social Affairs and Health (August 8, 2014)
The Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO), meeting on 6 and 7 August in Geneva, declared the Ebola epidemic to be a “public health emergency of international concern”.
Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, reaffirm the government’s solidarity with the African countries that have been hit hard by this epidemic. France will participate fully in the international and European response to halt its spread.
The ministers welcome the WHO’s decision and all the recommendations formulated by the Emergency Committee. They support the priority actions adopted by the health ministers of 11 countries at the Accra meeting organized by ECOWAS.
French experts are working closely with the WHO to respond to the demand for experts and host institutions, which WHO is in the process of identifying. The government intends to continue and increase its support for NGOs and research institutes (Pasteur, Inserm, etc.) as part of its response to Ebola, notably through the deployment of mobile laboratories.
Given the weakness of the healthcare systems involved, the ministers emphasize the need for international support efforts to embrace a more long-term strategy with a view to strengthening healthcare systems in the face of cross-border health threats.
As for French nationals in the area, the two ministers reiterate that unless there is an imperative need, it is advisable to suspend any travel plans to the countries where Ebola haemorrhagic fever has been seen (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria). They point out that the French authorities are organizing a medical evacuation capability, with care to be provided in France, in order to respond to any potential medical emergency.
Finally, they wish to emphasize that all preventive measures, public information campaigns and treatment preparations adopted by France since the outbreak of the epidemic meet WHO recommendations.