Funding, Vaccines, and More Deaths in DRC

Funding, Vaccines, and More Deaths in DRC

The third patient was found alive and is now under observation by MSF and the World Health Organization, Henri Gray said.

Another left on Saturday, but was found alive the same day and is now under observation, Mr Gray added.

"This is a hospital".

"All it takes is one sick person to travel down the Congo River and we can have outbreaks seeded in many different locations. that can happen at any moment, it's very hard to predict", he said, referring to the river linking the trading hub of Mbandaka to the capital Kinshasa, whose population is 10 million.

Delivering on an intense agenda, the representatives of the countries participating in the 71st World Health Assembly received a report on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and an independent report on the WHO health emergencies programme, and discussed health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory.

"We're on the epidemiological knife edge of this response", WHO's head of emergency response, Chief Peter Salama told ministers and diplomats at United Nations body's annual assembly. The river also runs along the border with the Republic of Congo to the west.

The announcement comes amid reports of another two deaths from the virus in an outbreak that has killed 27 people since April, prompting the first deployment of an experimental vaccine in the region this week.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said health workers had redoubled efforts to trace contacts with the patients.

Health officials are trying to prevent a repeat of that outbreak by administering a vaccine, still in beta-phase, to residents and medical workers.

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Dr Salama said: "It is critical to remember that the Ebola outbreak in northwest DRC is not the only challenge this country is facing". In the Republic of Congo, for example, World Health Organization is working with government officials "to stop functioning" an active market on its side of the Congo River. The other countries are Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and, to a lesser extent, Uganda.

The top two priorities are Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo near the epicenter of the outbreak, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's director for Africa, told the WHA session.

On Monday, the Health Ministry and WHO launched a "ring vaccination" campaign in Mbandaka and Bikoro with the still-unlicensed rVSV-ZEBOV treatment, whose manufacturer, Merck & Co., has donated 7,540 doses that arrived in Congo last week. Excellent communication between the clinical teams treating patients, public health teams, patients and communities around what's happening is key.

He said: "In the next five days 100 people must be vaccinated, including 70 health professionals". Community outreach to religious leaders in particular helped familiarize communities with the proper safety protocols.

Some residents of the capital expressed confidence that the outbreak would not reach their city from the rural villages or Mbandaka, which is an hour's flight from Kinshasa but several days' journey by barge.

"We're really just at the beginning".

The government has issued warnings against the consumption of bushmeat since the city's first Ebola infection was discovered last week.

When Ebola hit West Africa in 2014, some of the obstacles that impeded the medical response included lack of trust among communities dealing with outbreaks and religious practices - such as washing the body of the dead - that spread the disease, which is contagious through bodily fluids.

The vaccine, provided by US company Merck, is still in the test stages but it was effective toward the end of the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2014 to 2016.