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Ebola. RDC. Centre de transit. Urgence sanitaire mondiale

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola in DRC : WHO declares Public Health Emergency of International Concern

MSF Ebola transit centre in Bunia, DRC, June 2019. © Pablo Garrigos/MSF
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The WHO International Health Regulations' Emergency Committee for Ebola Viral Disease in Congo convened on Wednesday to discuss whether or not the outbreak constitutes international concern.

    This panel had already met on the same subject in October 2018, April and June 2019, and on those three occasions they had decided that the epidemic did not constitute a global health emergency.

    But this time, the situation is different. Since the outbreak was declared almost a year ago, on August 1, 2018, the number of new cases has continued to increase. In addition, earlier this week, the first case was reported in Goma, a city of more than 1.5 million people, and 3 cases of Ebola had been confirmed in Uganda, representing the first case of cross-border spread of the epidemic that changes its geographical scope.

    The signs are clear: people are still dying in the communities, health workers are still infected, and transmission is still going on.
    Dr. Joanne Liu, International President of MSF

    “The epidemic is not under control and we need a change of gear”

    Declaring a global health emergency is a way to call for greater international attention and could help WHO to mobilize additional human and financial resources.

    “But this should not be about movement restrictions or the use of coercion on  the affected population. Communities and patients need to be at the centre of the response, they need to be active participants”, says Dr. Joanne Liu.

    MSF has experienced first hand how difficult it is to respond to this epidemic. We need to take stock of what is working and what is not working. In a context where contact tracing is not working fully, and all affected people are not reached, a large scale approach is needed for prevention, this means better access to vaccination for the population to reduce transmission.
    Dr. Joanne Liu, International President of MSF