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Stepped Up Ebola Fight Benefits Zimbabwe

FILE: A health care worker assists a colleague inside a USAID, funded Ebola clinic in Monrovia, Liberia, Jan. 30, 2015.(AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh)

The African Union is making progress in its efforts working with authorities in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in trying to contain and eradicate the Ebola crisis that has crippled the three African countries.

The Director of Social Affairs at the African Union, Dr. Olawale Maiyegun, says plans are now at an advanced stage for the African Union to set up the African Centers For Disease Control Unit that is expected to begin in July.

The African Center is a partnership with the United States Atlanta-based Centers For Disease Control which has been working with the AU to fight the deadly Ebola virus.

"The African Center Disease Control will start with a modest events-based surveillance system that will benefit all its member states, including countries like Zimbabwe in the fight against Ebola," said Dr. Maiyegun.

Dr. Maiyegun says the African Centre will also have the ability to give capacity building to all the AU member states.

He says efforts are also being made to make sure the level of preparedness of all member countries including Zimbabwe, which was not directly impacted by the current Ebola epidemic, are stepped up.

He says it is pleasing to note that when they deployed teams to countries like Liberia which were hard hit by the Ebola epidemic in September "Ebola was chasing them but they are now chasing Ebola."

The World Health Organization says the death toll from the Ebola outbreak has risen to more than 9,000 people and the number of cases is nearing 22,000.

The latest data reflects recent trends with Liberia and Guinea seeing a decrease in the rate of Ebola transmissions, while Sierra Leone's cases continue to rise.

Liberia recently lifted its curfew which was imposed on its citizens at the height of the Ebola epidemic signaling that the disease is now under control in the country.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation announced Friday that it has approved a new rapid test for Ebola which gives results in 15 minutes.

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