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WHO Leader Says End Of Ebola Outbreak Is Near, But Hard Work Remains


The leaders of the three West African nations hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak unveiled a multibillion-dollar recovery plan this week in Washington. Much of the international funding they're seeking would go to rebuilding their decimated healthcare systems. The new head of the World Health Organization's Africa office says there's a lot of work to be done in Ebola-affected countries just to put basic health services back in place. NPR's Jason Beaubien spoke with her earlier this week.

JASON BEAUBIEN, BYLINE: I started out questioning Dr. Matshidiso Moeti about the post-Ebola recovery in West Africa, and she quickly stressed that this outbreak is not yet over.

MATSHIDISO MOETI: We've had what seem to be the ends of this epidemic in the past and then suddenly a flare-up of cases somewhere.

BEAUBIEN: Moeti is optimistic that the end of the outbreak is in sight, but she says the world needs to remain vigilant until it's clear that transmission of the virus has completely stopped. Moeti, who's worked in the World Health Organization since 1999, took over running the Africa office in February. She says her biggest priority in this new job is improving basic healthcare services across the continent.

MOETI: There are areas in some countries where people just don't have a clinic nearby. If a clinic is there, there are probably hardly any health workers who are there in any consistent way. There are no medicines available most of the time for the most prevalent conditions that afflict those people. This is still a significant problem in African countries.

BEAUBIEN: When her term ends five years from now, she wants most Africans to be within walking distance of a well-staffed, well-stocked clinic. If such clinics had been in place in West Africa, it's possible that the Ebola outbreak might have been contained much faster. Jason Beaubien, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.
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