Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

DRC Ebola outbreak not health emergency of int’l concern

DRC Ebola outbreak not health emergency of int’l concern

"Based on the current context. the committee recommended that the current Ebola outbreak in DRC does not constitute a public health emergency of global concern", said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's director-general, said Wednesday that the committee's decision was backed by "good reasons".

He also emphasized that the WHO will keep in place 250 health workers now in-country fighting the disease. It said this posed problems for health workers who need to move around freely and track people who are infected with the virus and need treatment. Their efforts, by every standard, have been fruitful.

Currently, the World Health Organization is $25 million short of the $33 million it says it needs to stamp out this outbreak by January ― costs that have gone up with the increased security needs and wide geographic spread of the disease.

Salama said Wednesday that 75 people in this outbreak have been treated with four major experimental drugs under a "compassionate use" framework. "We still have more than 250 people working in DRC to end this outbreak", Tedros tweeted. "Outbreaks are very hard to predict, but I have a feeling we're looking at another six months".

The outbreak is in the eastern part of the country, having started in North Kivu province before spreading to Ituri province.

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Now a high-level delegation from the Independent Oversight Advisory Committee of World Health Organization Geneva is in the country and they are visiting the border districts of Kasese, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo and Kabarole to assess further the level of Uganda's preparedness.

Another meeting can be called "if the situation changes", he said. It is estimated by the United Nations that more than a million civilians under threat from armed groups, are internally-displaced in North Kivu; around 500,000 this year alone.

In the WHO's parlance, "a public health emergency of global concern" is an "extraordinary event" in which a disease may spread across borders and requires a vigorous worldwide response.

Weeks after the all clear was sounded after the Ebola outbreak recorded in Equateur Province in the DRC last May another outbreak occurred in the conflict torn North Kivu Province in the east of the Central African giant.

The agency also declared a public health emergency of worldwide concern in February 2016 over the Zika virus.

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