Ebola in DRC: WHO still does not declare global health "emergency"

The WHO emergency committee considers that the risk of spreading the Congolese epidemic to the international level remains "low" and renounces declaring a global health alert.

This is the third time that the Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization has been meeting since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to AFP, the committee considers that the epidemic, which has since spread to neighboring Uganda, is still not a global health "emergency".

"It is not a threat to global health," said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference on Friday (June 14th). This meeting was convened after the appearance of several cases of Ebola in Uganda in recent weeks. In the DRC, two people died after attending the funeral of a loved one with Ebola. For the emergency committee, the epidemic is an "emergency for the DRC and the region" but not a "public health emergency of international concern."

WHO supports lack of resources

The WHO director took advantage of this press conference to recall the lack of international financial support to fight the epidemic, which could "delay (its) effective eradication." Due to lack of resources, WHO has had to "reduce some of its preparation work in some neighboring countries," he insisted.

In the Congolese provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, 2,100 cases of Ebola were recorded, of which 1,411 died, since the beginning of the epidemic in August 2018. This epidemic is the tenth that has hit the country since 1976 and the second worst in the history of the disease, after the one that hit Western Africa between 2014 and 2016.

This time, the authorities have an experimental vaccine to fight the spread of the epidemic. However, the DRC still fails to contain Ebola, particularly because of the political instability of the country, the regular attacks of militias and the hostility of the population vis-à-vis health centers.

Video: WHO declare Ebola outbreak in DRC an international health emergency. ITV News (November 2019).