FG constitutes 10-man standby committee to tackle Ebola

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Mag 19, 2017

May 18 An outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo involving up to 20 people is in an extremely remote area and presents a high risk at a national level, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The region's Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Emmanuel Mtika, said the information they had indicated that out nine persons suspected of contracting Ebola, three were diagnosed with the deadly disease.

Peter Salama, the WHO's executive director for health emergencies, said the agency's risk assessment on the outbreak was that it is high at a national level, medium at regional level and low at global level. "[For] the first six months [we] will need about 10 million dollars, not just for World Health Organization but for all partners responding", he said.

The federal government says a ten-man committee of health workers is on standby to tackle any possible outbreak of Ebola virus. "In an area without telecommunications, without road access, without large-scale electrification, this is going to be an enormous challenge", he said. Four health areas are affected in Bas-Uélé Province.

The trials there have been “promising” and the vaccines has proven to be efficient and safe so far, Dr. Salama told reporters, while Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, added that she is encouraged by the rapid response to quell the outbreak. Their immediate priority is to follow the 400 plus contacts of the suspected Ebola cases.

Congolese Ministry of Health, WHO, MSF and Alima are responding swiftly to the situation, with the deployment of experienced staff and equipment near the epicentre of the epidemic.

"The preparations are in place". The first and only epidemic was in 2014-2016 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - a part of the continent where Ebola had never been seen before.

But he said huge efforts were underway to overcome the challenges.

An Ebola treatment centre has also been set up at the Likati hospital and teams are working on deploying a mobile laboratory to help speed up diagnoses, he said.

"Risk at the regional level is moderate due to the proximity of worldwide borders and the recent influx of refugees from Central African Republic", the organization said, but it nonetheless described the global risk as low because the area is so remote.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States is also sending a renowned Ebola expert, Dr. Pierre Rollin, to Congo, along with epidemiologists, a spokeswoman said.

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