December 11, 2014 / 9:21 PM / 5 years ago

UN names veteran humanitarian official as new head of Ebola mission

ACCRA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed veteran humanitarian official Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania on Thursday as the new head of its mission to fight an outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Ahmed, who has 28 years of U.N. experience in humanitarian and development affairs, will replace Anthony Banbury as leader of the U.N. Ebola Emergency Response Mission (UNMEER) in January, a U.N. statement said.

The worst outbreak of Ebola on record has killed 6,533 people in the three West African countries most hit by the disease — Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea — and infected 18,118 people, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

France, the United States, Britain, Cuba and other governments have joined the fight against Ebola, alongside the WHO, medical charities and others. UNMEER, based in Ghana, coordinates policy and logistics rather than treating patients.

Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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