Ebola UN set to close response quarters in Ghana as outbreak dwindles

The agency,  known as Unmeer, however said a small team will stay until the end of June to co-ordinate air operations.

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play (BBC)
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As the Ebola outbreak slows, the United Nations is set to close its emergency response centre in Ghanaian capital, Accra.

BBC reports that Peter Graaff, the head of the mission, met the Ghanaian president to thank the country for hosting the agency since it was set up in September last year.

The agency,  known as Unmeer, however said a small team will stay until the end of June to co-ordinate air operations.

Ghana remained unaffected by the Ebola outbreak which spread through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

The mission reportedly set up its headquarters in Accra as it was far enough away from the affected countries, where there was logistical lockdown, but close enough the epicentre of the outbreak.

In a statement thanking the Ghanaian president, Graffe said,

"By allowing us to set up our headquarter in Accra, President John Mahama demonstrated extraordinary leadership and solidarity, he made Ghana the only open gateway to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone thus allowing the movement of thousands of Ebola responders and medical and essential supplies when they were most needed."

To this end, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone now had the necessary response capabilities in place to efficiently test, treat and isolate Ebola patients.

On his part, President Mahama said the downsizing of Unmeer was a sign of success for "short and sharp interventions".

Most of the mission's staff and assets have been moved to Sierra Leone and Guinea, where 24 new cases of Ebola were reported in the last week.

Over 11,000 were killed in the Ebola outbreak, and last month, Liberia became the first majorly affected country to be declared Ebola-free, having battled the outbreak for a year.

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