Ebola epidemic in DRC constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,
WorldHealth Organization says. First Ebola patient in DR Congo's Goma dies yesterday. Vaccinations against Ebola begin in DRCongo city of Goma. Ebola case confirmed in eastern DR Congo city of Goma. Ebola case reported near DR Congo's border with South Sudan. The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a global public health emergency, the United Nations health agency has
The World Health Organization (WHO) made the declaration on Wednesday following a meeting of its emergency committee in the Swiss city of Geneva. "It is a measure that
It had previously opted against raising the global alarm over the DRC's Ebola outbreak on three occasions despite registering "deep concern", with the epidemic surging amid a "perfect storm" of regional insecurity and deep community mistrust over the crisis and towards authorities. A new case of the virus was registered in
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said in a statement it was "time for the world to take notice" of the epidemic and called for a redoubling of efforts to battle it back. Tedros insisted that the declaration was not made to raise more money - even though
Before Wednesday, WHO had declared a global health emergency four times since 2007, when it first put in place the procedure: in 2009 for the flu pandemic; in 2014 for polio; in 2014 for the devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300; and in 2016 for the Zika virus that caused a spate of birth defects across Latin America. It was heavily
Internal documents later showed WHO held off partly out of fear a declaration would anger the countries involved and hurt their economies. Health experts welcomed Wednesday's declaration but urged WHO to now focus on
Gostin also cautioned that complacency in the international community was "crippling the response", saying the "status quo is no longer tenable". Wednesday's decision came after the DRC's health ministry on Sunday confirmed the first registered case of the virus in Goma, a city of some two million people in eastern North Kivu province and close to the border with Rwanda. The case triggered calls for more international support amid the
At a UN meeting in Geneva on Tuesday, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the DRC's health minister, said the outbreak was "not a humanitarian crisis" and that the risk of Ebola spreading to other cities or regions in Congo remained the same. Outside of the cases in Uganda and Goma, the Ebola outbreak has been confined to more rural regions of North Kivu and
Unidentified attackers killed two Ebola health workers near Mukulia in North Kivu over the weekend, the latest in a string of assaults against medical personnel or health facilities. Amid the unrest, health workers have vaccinated some 160,000 people. The vaccine is experimental but is estimated to be 97.5 percent effective and, according to
Those working in the field have repeatedly warned the outbreak was taking a turn for the worse in recent months. Laura Miller, acting DRC director for US-based NGO Mercy Corps, welcomed WHO's declaration and said she hoped it would "translate into urgent and practical action, including more funding from international donors". "Every day, women, men and children are dying of the Ebola virus and it is becoming too easy to forget that the ever-climbing case numbers are people," Miller said in a statement.
"Now with the first case identified in Goma, it is crucial that we involve communities at every step in the response, building trust and collaboration and viewing them as true partners," she added. "We can't do this alone."