WHO declares 11th Ebola outbreak in DR Congo over

1,038FollowersFollow

In a statement on Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared over the 11th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), nearly six months after the first cases were reported in Equateur Province.

“WHO congratulates responders and all those who tirelessly tracked cases, provided treatment, engaged communities and vaccinated more than 40 000 people at high risk and thanks a wide range of partners for their support,” WHO said.

It said vaccinators used an innovative cold chain storage to keep the Ebola vaccine at temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius.

Read full statement below

Today marks the end of the 11th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), nearly six months after the first cases were reported in Equateur Province. The outbreak took place in communities scattered across dense rain forests as well as crowded urban areas, creating logistical challenges. These were surmounted due to the leadership of the government and local communities, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners.

WHO congratulates responders and all those who tirelessly tracked cases, provided treatment, engaged communities and vaccinated more than 40 000 people at high risk and thanks a wide range of partners for their support. Vaccinators used an innovative cold chain storage to keep the Ebola vaccine at temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius. The ARKTEK freezers can keep vaccines at very low temperatures in the field for up to a week and enabled responders to vaccinate people in communities without electricity.

“Overcoming one of the world’s most dangerous pathogens in remote and hard to access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The technology used to keep the Ebola vaccine at super-cold temperatures will be helpful when bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to Africa. Tackling Ebola in parallel with COVID-19 hasn’t been easy, but much of the expertise we’ve built in one disease is transferrable to another and underlines the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and building local capacity.”

The outbreak in western DRC, announced on 1 June 2020, came as another Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the country was winding down, and finally declared over on 25 June 2020. The two outbreaks were geographically far apart. Genetic sequencing analysis found that they were unrelated. By the end of the current 11th Ebola outbreak in Equateur Province there were 119 confirmed cases, 11 probable, 55 deaths and 75 people who had recovered.

Equateur Province was also the site of the country’s 9th Ebola outbreak, which was overcome in a little over three months in 2018 and had half as many cases reported. However, the response to the 11th Ebola outbreak had to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, which strained resources and created difficulties around the movement of experts and supplies. There were also challenges around the large number of cases in remote communities which were often only accessible by boat or helicopter and at times community resistance hampered response efforts.

Under the leadership of the DRC government, most responders were mobilized locally, and they moved quickly, despite important logistical and access difficulties. Vaccination efforts began just four days after the outbreak was declared. Around 90% of the vaccinators were from local communities. The response also tapped into the expertise of local health workers trained during the two recent outbreaks in the DRC. Responders worked closely with community members to increase understanding of the virus by visiting more than 574 000 households and providing more than 3 million people with pertinent health and safety information.

At the height of the outbreak there were more than 100 WHO experts on the ground, supporting the government’s response. While the 11th outbreak is over, there is a need for continued vigilance and maintaining strong surveillance as potential flare-ups are possible in the months to come. In this regard, WHO and other partners are currently conducting important actions for improving critical operational capacities in Equateur province, including training frontline workers.  

The end of this outbreak serves as a reminder that governments and partners must continue to focus attention on other emergencies, even as the fight against COVID-19 persists. There is a need for greater investment in strengthening the core capacities of countries in the implementation of the International Health Regulations. Enhancing preparedness will lead to improved response to threats arising from epidemic prone diseases and result in less social and economic impact

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Trending Now

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden says he’s concerned about escalating violence in Ethiopia and worries about civilians

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday said he was concerned about the escalating violence in Ethiopia. In a call with the United Nations...

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks with Presidents of Kenya, Argentina and Costa Rica, and UN chief

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday spoke with world leaders, including President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the second African leader after his...

Ethiopian forces set to take Tigrayan capital, as many fear mass civilian deaths

The Ethiopian military said late on Friday that government forces were set to take control of Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray, even as...

Biden to use walking boot for several weeks after sustaining fractures while playing with dog, doctor says

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden sustained a sprain of his right foot while playing with his dog, Major, his doctor said on Sunday. "Initial X-rays are...

Nigerian-American Adewale Adeyemo makes history as President-elect Biden announces members of his economic team

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced key members of his economic team, including Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury; Neera Tanden as...

President-elect Joe Biden slips while playing with dog, twists ankle

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. slipped while playing with his dog, Major, and twisted his ankle. The President-elect is being examined at Delaware Orthopaedic...

U.S. House members ask Trump admin to put on hold deportation of asylum-seekers from Cameroon and other African countries

United States House of Representatives members on Tuesday called on the Trump administration to put on hold the deportation, slated for Wednesday, of asylum-seekers...

U.S. ‘appalled by persecution of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong’

The United States government said on Thursday it was "appalled by the Hong Kong government’s political persecution of Hong Kong’s courageous pro-democracy advocates." "The...

In first sit down interview since defeating President Trump, President-elect Biden identifies the four crises he’ll face

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday identified the four crises his incoming administration will face when he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris...

U.S. must stop vilifying immigrants, says Biden homeland security nominee Alejandro N. Mayorkas

The United States "must stop vilifying" immigrants, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said on Thursday,...

Biden: We can and must do more for people with disabilities – statement

Statement by President-elect Joe Biden on United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities Today, Jill and I join with communities, advocates, and activists around...

Democrats and Republicans finally get serious about COVID-19 relief deal before Christmas

The Democrats and the Republicans are finally serious about reaching a COVID-19 deal before Christmas, as new cases increase and hospitalizations and deaths expand...

52,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Africa from 2.1 million infections, the lowest death toll in the world

More 52,500 people have died from COVID-19 in Africa from over 2.1 million infections, according to the latest data released by the Africa CDC. The...

President-elect Biden appoints Brian Deese as Director of the National Economic Council

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced on Thursday that veteran economic and climate expert Brian Deese will be appointed to serve as Director of the...

U.S. ‘appalled by persecution of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong’

The United States government said on Thursday it was "appalled by the Hong Kong government’s political persecution of Hong Kong’s courageous pro-democracy advocates." "The use of courts to silence peaceful dissent is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes and underscores once again that the Chinese Communist Party’s greatest fear is the free speech and free thinking of its own people," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo...
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
Tweet
WhatsApp
Pin
Share