Abidjan - The European Union promised 140 million euros ($181 million) in assistance on Friday to bolster the overstretched health sectors of four West African nations struggling to halt the worst ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

The funding will be used to strengthen health systems, train health workers and pay for mobile testing laboratories in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Guinea where over 1 900 people have died since the outbreak was identified in March.

Over 97 million euros will be spent on budget support to Liberia and Sierra Leone in order to help them deliver public services, including healthcare, and maintain macro-economic stability, the European Commission said in a statement.

“The situation is going from bad to worse,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

“We are helping make a difference on the ground but the needs are outpacing the international community's capacity to react.”

The United Nations said on Wednesday that $600 million would be needed to fight the West African outbreak. - Reuters