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Sierra Leone gets $80m IMF grant to fight Ebola

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SIERRA LEONE is to receive more than $80m (£52m) immediately to help the country end the Ebola outbreak and recover from its effects.

The IMF has pledged a $187m financial aid package for Sierra Leone to support the country’s struggling economy.

World leaders are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to talk about Ebola and long-term plans to fight the disease.

Nearly 10,000 people have died in the outbreak, the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

‘Painstaking task’

On Monday the UN said that the struggle to contain the epidemic was reaching a “second phase”.

UN experts say the spread of the disease in West Africa has dropped to almost 10% of what it was six months ago.

Liberia in particular continues to have a low level of transmission, with only one new confirmed case in the week leading to 22 February. This compares to 34 in Guinea and 63 in Sierra Leone.

But the UN special envoy on Ebola, David Nabarro, told AP that the international community should not become complacent as getting to zero cases was “the hardest part”.

“It’s a really difficult, painstaking task,” he said.

Around 600 delegates will meet on Tuesday to discuss the response to the outbreak.

The BBC’s Anne Soy, in Brussels, says that there is a danger of donor fatigue, even though the Ebola outbreak has received a lot of attention from the international community.

World leaders, including the presidents of all three worst-hit nations, will talk about how best to rebuild their economies after the epidemic.

The healthcare systems of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will also need help to recover from the effects of the outbreak.

Scarce healthcare resources have had to be directed to controlling the epidemic and it has become harder to get treatment for other diseases.

The Ebola outbreak has killed 9,714 people in West Africa since it began in 2014, with 23,913 confirmed cases.



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