Sierra Leono ebola outbreak
A girl waits for a helicopter to take off in the town of Koidu, Kono district in Eastern Sierra LeoneReuters

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will immediately send $80m (£52m) to Sierra Leone to help halt the Ebola outbreak and assist in tis economic recovery.

The Washington-based institution has pledged $187m in financial assistance to Sierra Leone, to boost its ailing economy.

More than 9,700 people have died in the Ebola outbreak, which has centred on the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The United Nations said on Monday that attempts to contain the outbreak were entering a "second phase."

The UN Special Envoy on Ebola said "the hardest part" would be reducing the number of cases to zero, as cited by the Associated Press news agency.

"It's a really difficult, painstaking task," he said.

World leaders are due to meet in Brussels on Tuesday, where they will discuss the international response to the outbreak and plans to rebuild the economies of the countries that have been worst hit.

The IMF funds are being sent to help the Sierra Leone government cover its budget and boost its foreign reserves.

"The Sierra Leonean economy is battling two severe exogenous shocks with dramatic social and economic repercussions," said IMF deputy managing director Min Zhu.

"The Ebola epidemic and the sharp decline in iron ore prices are weighing heavily on the economy and have the potential for significant output contraction, continued price pressures, and increased fiscal and balance of payments deficits in 2015."

The Ebola outbreak has killed 9,714 people since it began in early 2014.