UN Agencies Coordinate Efforts to Face Ebola Outbreak

Seventeen people in northwest Democratic

Seventeen people in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo have died from Ebola the health ministry said

Laboratory results confirmed two cases of the disease in the province of Bikoro in the northwestern part of the country. The WHO estimates that the 3-month air bridge cost to be $2.4 million.

The area now affected by Ebola has huge challenges. Prior to this outbreak the most recent epidemic in the DRC was in May 2017. The World Health Organization says that it is preparing for a "worst case scenario" in the 2018 Ebola outbreak. Key partners, skilled in working in Ebola outbreak settings, have been mobilized, such as Doctors Without Borders, the WFP, UNICEF-which helps with communication and sanitation activities-and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which helps perform safe burials.

"WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is on his way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to assess the needs of the response first-hand".

Almost 40 local Red Cross volunteers on the ground have also been mobilized to support affected communities.

Since the affected communities are located in areas of hard access, the implementation of an effective response will depend on guaranteeing access from air and ensuring sufficient financing, Salama said. We probably won't know for sure what went wrong in this outbreak, but blame has been placed on the slow response of the worldwide community, the fragility of the region's health services, and the failure of public health campaigns to reach all people. "This includes essential items like stretchers, chlorine disinfectant, Ebola kits, informational posters and other supplies to support the local communities and health centres".

The current vaccine against Ebola is said to be experimental and not a licensed product.

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Salama also said the United Nations health organisation hoped to have a mobile lab up and running on site this weekend.

Should other countries in the region be launching outbreak emergency programmes?

Salama emphasized that the vaccination operation for Ebola is far more complex than that for orally-administered polio vaccine.

In addition to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, past Ebola outbreaks have occurred in Gabon, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Republic of Congo and South Africa.

Ebola experts have various suspicions about why the DRC remains so vulnerable. Healthcare workers are among those reported to be infected. If it met the criteria of a public heath event of worldwide concern as defined by global health regulations, emergency responses would need to be launched. The WHO has reached out to experienced Ebola vaccinators from Guinea. Eighteen people died as of Friday, including a nurse. "The virus can also be spread through contact with objects contaminated by infected persons as well as direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected fruit bats or primates".

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