Ebola outbreak in DR Congo declared over, now let’s tackle other health challenges: WHO chief

DRC Ebola 2018

WHO/Lindsay Mackenzie Dr. Alhassane Toure vaccinates a health worker at a health centre in the city of Mbandaka (16 June 2018).

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The Ebola virus outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been declared over, thanks to a concerted national and international effort to contain the threat, the UN’s top health official said on Tuesday.

The countdown to the announcement began on 12 June, when the last patient was released from care after testing negative a second time for the virus, whose symptoms include major bleeding and high fever.

Speaking from the country’s capital, Kinshasa, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), hailed the “tireless efforts” of local teams in combating the deadly disease, which claimed 29 lives, and infected dozens more.

Mr. Tedros also congratulated health partners, donors and the DRC Ministry of Health for working together so effectively, to end the outbreak.

Unlike eight previous Ebola outbreaks in DRC in the past four decades, this latest episode was complicated by the fact that it involved a major urban centre of more than 1 million people, Mbandaka, with a direct connection via the Congo River to the capital and to neighbouring countries, as well as extremely remote rainforest villages.

There were concerns that the disease could spread from Equateur province to other parts of DRC and neighbouring countries, Mr. Tedros said, but the threat was minimized thanks to the release of emergency WHO funding within hours of the outbreak being declared on 8 May.

WHO and partners appealed for $57 million to stop the spread of Ebola; total funds received by all partners amounted to $63 million.

Fighting the DRC outbreak was also made easier by the existence of a vaccine, following a major trial in Guinea in 2016, one of three countries in West Africa where Ebola claimed more than 11,300 lives between 2013 and 2016.

The absence of a cure for the disease was in part responsible for the continued reliance on traditional burial methods, WHO has said, which in some cases involved bathing in the water used to clean those who had died from the virus.

In an appeal to the authorities and health partners to transfer the momentum of fighting Ebola to other diseases in DRC, Mr. Tedros said that they could be “confident” about tackling cholera and polio, too.

“We must continue to work together, investing in strengthened preparedness and access to health care for the most vulnerable,” he said.

Looking ahead, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said that DRC was in a better position to address future public health emergencies, since “more than three quarters of the 360 people deployed to respond (to the Ebola outbreak) came from within the region”.

DRC’s health professionals had also gained valuable knowledge and insight from those involved in the West Africa Ebola vaccination campaign, involving nearly 12,000 people, Dr. Moeti added.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brexit: The Conservative Party drives the UK and Europe to a perilous road

3 ways we are making an impact on plastic pollution

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

7 innovative projects making cities more sustainable

The future of energy in Puerto Rico is renewable

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

5 facts you should know about the world’s refugees

5 ways to net a sustainable future for aquaculture

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

Why the ECB prepares to flood the markets with more and free of charge euro; everybody needs that now

Efforts to save the planet must start with the Antarctic

Zuckerberg, a paella, and the mighty EU questionnaires that would stop Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook?

We have the tools to beat climate change. Now we need to legislate

10 Downing street: Another desperate attempt to unite Britain on Brexit

COVID-19: MEPs debate how to best protect cross-border and seasonal workers

African economies sustain progress in domestic resource mobilisation

Cleantech innovation is being stifled. Here’s how to unlock it

The West unites against Mali desert rebels

It’s time we harnessed Big Data for good

These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

Coal addiction ‘must be overcome’ to ease climate change, UN chief says in Bangkok

The migration crisis is slowly melting the entire EU edifice

Africa’s inspiring innovators show what the future could hold

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

EU on track to end use of chemicals harming the ozone layer

DiscoverEU: 20,000 more young people will explore Europe in 2020

Hunger in Yemen: WFP considers aid suspension in face of repeated interference by some Houthi leaders

4 simple ways to make your holiday season more sustainable

“One Belt One Road”: Its relevance to the European Companies

Abu Dhabi is investing $250 million in tech start-ups

Coronavirus: Commission unveils EU vaccines strategy

4 ways sporting events are becoming more sustainable

How the ‘California effect’ could shape a global approach to ethical AI

Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on State aid measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19

Landmine casualties high for third consecutive year despite record funding, latest monitor reports

One in three fish caught never gets eaten

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

Building a stronger Europe: new initiatives to further boost role of youth, education and culture policies

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 9 April

COP24: green, gender focus, as UN’s crucial climate change conference gets underway

‘The best-selling brand today is fear’: UN chief highlights urgent need to address global ‘deficit of trust’

Historical success for the First ever European Presidential Debate

Here are 3 ways venture capital can fund a better future

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

Here’s what I learned at Davos 2020

These countries are making ‘travel bubbles’ for post-lockdown tourism

It’s not your imagination, summers are getting hotter

These countries have the most nuclear reactors

A clean energy future with hydrogen could be closer than we think

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

UN rights office calls on Zimbabwe Government to end ‘crackdown’ in response to fuel protests

The ASEAN Community sees the light: the genesis of a new powerful economic and political bloc and EU’s big opportunity

Quality coffee can boost local economies and benefit farmers – here’s how

Water pollution is killing millions of Indians. Here’s how technology and reliable data can change that

Monsoon rains turn millions of children’s lives ‘upside down’ across South Asia

Western Sahara: a ‘peaceful solution’ to conflict is possible, says UN envoy

European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK following its failure to name a candidate for EU Commissioner

MEPs agree on new rules to tax digital companies’ revenues

This is how COVID-19 is affecting informal workers

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s