WHO Seeks $20m To Fight Ebola In DR Congo
The World Health Organization said Friday it needs $20 million to fight Ebola in DR Congo, even as the end of the devastating 19-month epidemic finally seemed within grasp.
While the world’s attention has been focused on the coronavirus, the last patient being treated for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo was discharged on Tuesday.
If no more cases are diagnosed, the epidemic will officially end within 42 days from the date of the last confirmed patient’s second negative test.
“The end of the outbreak will be declared on April 12” barring further cases, WHO assistant director-general for emergency response Ibrahima Soce Fall told the media in Geneva on Friday.
But he issued a note of warning, saying “it is critical to maintain surveillance and rapid response capacity” in order to quickly diagnose any new cases.
“We have over 1,169 survivors. So we have an important programme to continue to provide care to survivors, but also to make sure that we don’t have any flare-ups,” he added.
“We know that the focus is more now on COVID-19, but… we still need an additional $20 million for WHO to maintain the team on the ground because Ebola is also a matter of global health security.”
DR Congo’s most recent Ebola outbreak was first identified in August 2018 and WHO declared it a “public health emergency of international concern” last July.
It has killed 2,264 people in DR Congo, the vast central African country’s tenth Ebola epidemic since 1976.
It is the second-most deadly Ebola epidemic in history, after an outbreak killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa from 2013 to 2016.
Since that time, the health authorities have gained a more powerful weapon against the disease: vaccination. Nearly 320,00 people have been vaccinated so far in DR Congo.