Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Ebola Threat

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a global public health emergency, World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations health agency has announced, just days after the epidemic spread to a major urban hub for the first time.
"It is a measure that recognises the possible increased national and regional risks and the need for intensified and coordinated action to manage them," WHO said in a post on Twitter. But the UN agency also said no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel or trade because of Ebola.
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.
Health experts welcomed Wednesday's declaration but urged WHO to now focus on galvanising international aid and changing "the playbook" on the ground in order to end the epidemic.
"Otherwise we can expect the DRC epidemic to either spin out of control or, more likely, we will have a steady drumbeat of needless suffering and death for the next year, maybe much longer," said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director at US-based Georgetown university's O'Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law. Gostin also cautioned that complacency in the international community was "crippling the response", saying the "status quo is no longer tenable".
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." 

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