Ritchie presses for commitment on Ebola aid

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Thursday, December 18th, 2014
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has asked the Secretary of State for International Development what progress DFID was making on tackling Ebola in West Africa. Speaking following International Development questionsRitchie said, “Ebola continues to cast a shadow over West Africa and it is vital that we do not let this crisis slip off the agenda. “Families across the region will not be able to spend Christmas or New Year with their loved ones due to necessary travel restrictions that have been put in place. The Christmas period and potentially the African Cup of Nations present the real risk of disease spread and protective measures need to be enacted. “There are also real fears that we do not know the full extent of the crisis as some victims have been purposefully hidden away or have been living in remote communities,” she insisted. “I am glad that DFID continue to commit resources to tackle this terrible illness and especially for the additional £2.5m announced to protect vulnerable or orphaned children. “There are questions around the initial response from the World Health Organisation and lessons need to be learned both in terms of dealing with this ongoing crisis and in reacting to future outbreaks of Ebola or other contagious diseases. “As we approach Christmas I pay tribute to all those health services workers and Doctors from across Ireland and the UK who have risked their own health to treat those in need. Ritchie added, “Many of these workers will spend their Christmas doing this vital work and they deserve an enormous amount of credit for their professionalism and their humanity.”
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