DRC – Ebola

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DRC – Ebola

Ebola situation worsening while support lags
Statement from WHO High-Level Mission to Butembo, DRC
30 April 2019
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, have concluded a visit to Butembo, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was in Butembo on 19 April that WHO epidemiologist Dr Richard Mouzoko was killed by armed men while he and colleagues were working on the Ebola response.

“Dr Mouzoko’s death moved me profoundly. On this mission, he was on my mind the whole time as we met with other dedicated colleagues. I am also profoundly worried about the situation. Cases are increasing because of violent acts that set us back each time. We have already begun to adjust our response.”

Dr Tedros and Dr Moeti traveled to Butembo to express their gratitude and show support to WHO and partner organization staff, while also assessing the next steps needed to strengthen both security and the Ebola response effort. They also met with local political, business and religious leaders, and called on them to accelerate their efforts to stabilize the surrounding environment.

They urged the international community to step up support to contain the Ebola outbreak, including filling the funding gap that threatens to stymie the Ebola response.

Most Ebola response activities, including community engagement, vaccination, and case investigation, have been re-launched following a slowdown in the wake of the attack that left Dr. Mouzoko dead and two people injured. However, they expressed deep concern that a rise in reported cases in recent weeks is straining resources even further.

“My pride and respect for my extraordinary colleagues has only grown,” said Dr Moeti. “They have been through something unimaginable and yet are willing to continue this vital work. We need the security situation to be under control for them and for the local people. During our mission, we had fruitful discussions with the partners who provide security cover to see what more could be done. Meanwhile, we will continue to work with various groups and embed our response at the community level.”

The delegation met the Mayor of Butembo, Sylvain Kanyamanda Mbusa, the US Ambassador, Michael A. Hammer, the Deputy Special Representative of the peacekeeping mission to the DRC (MONUSCO), David Gressly, and other UN partners, business, religious and political leaders, and NGOs active in the response.

“We are entering a phase where we will need major shifts in the response,” said Dr Tedros. WHO and partners cannot tackle these challenges without the international community stepping in to fill the sizeable funding gap.”

Only half of the currently requested funds have been received, which could lead to WHO and partners rolling back some activities precisely when they are most needed.

“We will continue to adjust the response, as we have done for each context in each community,” said Dr Moeti. “This worrisome rise in cases is a further call to action. In the end, it is only through the ownership by all the affected communities that the outbreak will end. Some would have Ebola drive us apart. We can only defeat it if we all work together.”

 

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39: Situation report on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu
30 April 2019
Situation Update
…As of 28 April 2019, a total of 1466 EVD cases, including 1400 confirmed and 66 probable cases, were reported. A total of 957 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 65%), including 891 deaths among confirmed cases. Of the 1466 confirmed and probable cases with known age and sex, 56% (815) were female, and 28% (416) were children aged less than 18 years. The number of healthcare workers affected has risen to 92, including 33 deaths…

 

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Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
2 May 2019
The operating environment has become increasingly insecure and socio-politically complex. Insecurity remains a major impediment to ensuring timely response interventions in the affected communities. Ebola virus disease (EVD) response activities in Butembo and Katwa remained limited; however, these are gradually resuming following a comprehensive reinforcement of security measures and community engagement efforts. The overall security situation, nevertheless, remains volatile. While no significant injuries or damages are reported this week, access and activities in parts of Mandima, Masereka, Kalunguta and Vuhovi, remain irregular due to the presence of armed groups and other security concerns. New EVD cases are expected to continue to increase, in tandem with incidents of insecurity in these hotspot areas over the coming weeks, placing significant strain on response teams and the security resources available to secure their movements.
Incidence of EVD cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo this week saw a considerable, although not unexpected, rise compared to the week prior. This observation is in line with previous instances where a disruption to response activities was followed by a spike in the number of new cases…
…As part of the continued efforts to empower communities to be more actively engaged in the EVD response, requests received from the numerous dialogues with local residents are being reviewed to aid the transfer of some of the response ownership back to the community. Recent dialogues have focused on addressing community-related incidents of reluctance or mistrust. Some notable successes from this effort have resulted, including some previously resistant contacts coming forward to re-engage with response activities, and pledging to assist by utilising their influence in the community to encourage greater cooperation with EVD response teams…

 

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WHO hero laid to rest
4 May 2019, Bafia – With overwhelming grief and respect, Dr Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, a devoted doctor, epidemiologist, husband and father who had worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) for the past five years was buried today in his native Cameroon.

Dr Mouzoko, 41, died from a gunshot wound sustained during an assailants’ attack on 19 April 2019 at Butembo University Hospital, where he was chairing a meeting with front-line health workers battling the Ebola virus disease in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

A man described as “ready to fly instantly to help his neighbour”, Dr Mouzoko was leading the WHO response team at the Butembo University Hospital’s Ebola treatment centre, in one of the worst Ebola hot spots in the country.

“The passing of Dr Richard is an enormous loss for WHO and the people of the DRC he was serving when his life was so brutally and senselessly taken away. It’s also an enormous loss for Cameroon, and most of all for his family, who have lost a husband, a father, a son and a brother,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told hundreds of mourners…