African Union (AU) Social Affairs Commissioner Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko said the deployment of healthcare workers to West African countries, which were affected by the outbreak of Ebola, has produced positive outcomes. He said the deployed healthcare workers are expected to return to their home countries. Kaloko was briefing media on Thursday during the 27th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU held at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg.

He said at the moment, Liberia is Ebola free and Sierra Leone is scaling down in numbers of reported cases of the disease. In Guinea, Kaloko said at least one case is reported every three days. “In Guinea there is still a little bit of worry because we a have a significant number of cases,” he said. He said more than 350 people are still deployed in Guinea, fighting the disease through vaccinating and monitoring patients.

He said the African Union intervention came at the right time when West African countries were stricken by the Ebola outbreak. He said the deployed healthcare workers performed a humanitarian task when they arrived in the countries, putting treatment centres and providing laboratories. “We thought it was very appropriate at the time to put human resources on the ground. Dealing with Ebola is about winning the hearts and minds of the people. We thought that getting Africans to help Africans would make much more sense because they would relate with the people they are helping,” he said.

He said another success was that healthcare workers originating from the three countries acquired skills and training that will remain with them when the deployed workers return to their countries. However, Kaloko said the AU has decided that it will still have few health workers deployed in the countries for some time even after all cases have been treated.

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