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The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference and Ebola

Statement from the ITU Secretary-General

 

Geneva, 17 October 2014 - The International Telecommunication Union, together with the rest of the international community and the United Nations System, has been closely following the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and, like the rest of the world, expresses its full solidarity with those from the affected countries.

ITU is in frequent contact with the national authorities of the affected countries as well as the coordinating body for the UN system – the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), and the Busan City authorities who have a strategy in place in the unlikely event of EVD surfacing.

ITU, working within the United Nations system, is fully following the guidance provided by the World Health Organization and would like to specifically underline, in the context of delegates from affected regions travelling to the Republic of Korea, that preparedness is key to preventing the spread of EVD.

The key is to have strong systems in place in every country to pick up suspected cases. Health workers everywhere need to be able to recognize EVD symptoms, ask the person’s travel history and know what to do to prevent other people from getting infected.

All countries should be prepared to detect, investigate, and manage suspected Ebola cases including access to a qualified diagnostic laboratory for EVD; capacity to identify and care for travellers originating from known Ebola-infected areas who arrive at international airports or major land crossing points with unexplained fever and other symptoms.

As the host country for the forthcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the Republic of Korea has been working diligently behind the scenes for several years now and together with the ITU Secretariat, we are looking forward to significant high-level discussions and a programme of exciting events that will set the foundations for the future knowledge society.

As Secretary-General of ITU, I would also be happy to convey any appeal from the South Korean administration to the Ebola-affected countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia to address this issue in accordance with the UN guidelines and to take the necessary measures to assure the safety and health of all conference participants and host country citizens.

ITU applauds the dedication and commitment of volunteers and health workers striving to break the chain of transmission in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries with sustained and widespread transmission of the virus, and we believe that this is the single most important intervention required to protect the further spread of the disease beyond the current areas in West Africa.

As Secretary-General of ITU, I have complete confidence in the abilities of our Korean hosts to oversee a world class conference in Busan. Likewise, I am assured by the action plan drawn up by the Korean Ministry of Health and Busan City authorities.

I would also like to call upon all delegates for their full understanding and cooperation, knowing that any special measures that the Korean authorities may introduce will be done so to protect and benefit all of us.

 

 

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