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Thursday, 30 September 2010

The EU allocates € 10 million to fight epidemic outbreaks

Today, the European Commission has allocated €10 million from its humanitarian aid budget to reduce the impact of epidemics on vulnerable people in developing countries and to support emergency operations to address outbreaks of communicable diseases. These funds will help an estimated 3,600,000 individuals living in areas at high risk of epidemics to receive proper protection against diseases. Populations in these countries are exposed to great risks to their health, lives and livelihoods. National resources to fight against epidemics are often exhausted causing major, even regional, emergencies. Commissioner Georgieva said: "Epidemic outbreaks pose major risks to the world's poorest populations, because of their decreased ability to respond to shocks of all kinds. Populations already affected by natural and man-made disasters are particularly vulnerable. A timely and adequate response to epidemic outbreaks, combined with appropriate preparedness action, can help save thousands of lives.” She added: ”For example, between 25 and 50 percent of cholera cases are fatal if untreated, but the correct treatment of the disease can reduce mortality rates to below 1-2 percent." The Commission funding will go towards the prevention and rapid response to diseases with an epidemic potential such as meningitis, measles, cholera, yellow fever and dengue. Measles, in particular, remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally and caused the death of 164,000 people in 2008 – mostly children under the age of five. The Commission assistance is driven by two objectives: preparedness - including surveillance, early warning systems, prevention, planning and stockpiling - as well as the capacity to respond effectively to the outbreaks. In that regard, the funding will emphasize the pre-positioning and provision of effective emergency items such as medical supplies and water and sanitation products.

Source: European Commission