The World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that the worsening Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is failing to meet the criteria for proclaiming an international health emergency, despite concerns about the region being high.
The Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, today convened an emergency committee on a conference call in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the outbreak. The committee decided against the proclamation of a global emergency.
Tedros told reporters today at an international press conference that according to the latest information, 216 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been infected and 1
"The leadership of the government [DRC] is still strong," said Tedros.
He said the committee's decision did not mean WHO did not take the outbreak seriously. Although the risk of global spread is low, it remains very high for neighboring countries, and we will be vigilant and reinforce our response. We will not rest until the outbreak is over.
Tedros pointed out that the country has three major obstacles: security amidst active conflict, distrust of medical personnel and geographical complications, including a highly mobile population and high population density.
Robert Steffen, MD, Chair of Emergency Committee and Professor At the University of Zurich (Switzerland), the committee announced that the committee was whether an international health emergency should be called, must weigh several criteria 9659002] First, whether the situation is exceptional.Though there were many Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Steffen said: "This is exceptional, because it is a particular challenge in terms security, with armed groups attacking especially in the area of the outbreak. " The second is risk of cross-border dissemination. He said that although there is a risk, especially for the next country, Uganda, "not a single case has been exported so far."
The third is whether an international answer might be needed. Steffen pointed out that an international response is already underway.
The declaration of a state of emergency of international significance (PHEIC) could have both advantages and consequences, said Steffen.
Steffen said the committee said it was not worth the number of international workers already deployed. Conversely, a PHEIC could negatively affect travel and trade, which could hamper the efforts of the response teams to contain the outbreak.
"We are optimistic that this outbreak, just like the one in May, will be brought under control within a reasonable time frame," said Steffen.
The danger is escalating
On August 1, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ministry of Health declared an Ebola outbreak in the province of North Kivu. It was the tenth outbreak of the country in the last 40 years. Prior to the current outbreak, the most recent outbreak was in May 2018. On September 28, WHO revised its risk assessment from high to very high.
Teams from the Ministry of Health, WHO and their partners respond to the eruption Especially in the area around Beni, a city with several hundred thousand inhabitants, where most cases are centered.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that curbing is hampering because some people with Ebola are distrustful and avoid them for fear that hospitalization will mean death. Some families also fear that they will not bring the bodies of relatives to traditional funerals and therefore report no cases.
According to Reuters, local authorities in Beni have stated that people who harbor suspect patients are sentenced to one month imprisonment. The authorities also offer health care workers police protection at funerals.
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