French President Francois Hollande visits Guinea to show his solidarity and support
He'll meet with Guinea's leaders and health workers involved in the fight against Ebola
France has built an Ebola treatment center in Guinea and is building two more
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been at the center of this Ebola outbreak
French President Francois Hollande is visiting Guinea on Friday in a direct show of support for the West African nation as it battles the deadly Ebola virus.
Hollande has been accompanied on the one-day trip by a delegation including the French health minister and the head of the Red Cross in France.
While in Guinea, Hollande will meet with the country’s leaders, visit medical facilities and hold a round-table discussion with people directly involved in fighting the disease. He will also pay tribute to the contribution of French medical workers in Guinea.
This week, the World Health Organization said the spread of the virus appeared to have stabilized in Guinea, an encouraging development.
In a briefing to journalists ahead of the trip, the presidential office said Hollande wanted to take stock of the efforts being made to combat Ebola, not just in Guinea but around the world.
By going there, he hopes to show solidarity with Guinea and its neighbors and send the world a message about not stigmatizing countries affected by Ebola.
In October, Hollande announced a comprehensive plan to fight the disease in France and West Africa, including 100 million euros for treatment and prevention efforts.
France has already built one treatment center in Guinea and is in the process of building two more. Two training centers for caregivers are also being built in the Conakry area.
As of Sunday, there had been 1,260 deaths in Guinea out of 2,134 confirmed, probable or suspected cases of Ebola, the WHO said in an update Wednesday.
In total, 5,689 people have died from the Ebola virus, and there have been 15,935 cases in eight countries since the outbreak began.
Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone remain by far the worst-affected countries. They reported 600 new cases in the week ending Sunday, with 385 of those in Sierra Leone.
“Case incidence is stable in Guinea, stable or declining in Liberia, but may still be increasing in Sierra Leone,” the WHO said.
The WHO update also warned that cases and deaths continue to be under-reported in this outbreak.
Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have recorded 15,901 cases and 5,674 deaths attributed to the virus since the beginning of the outbreak.