The Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, now in its tenth month, has claimed more than a thousand lives, prompting Secretary-General António Guterres to throw the support of “the whole United Nations system” into stemming the spread of the deadly virus.
Mr. Guterres expressed concern over the number of new Ebola cases in the east of the DRC on Wednesday, reiterating UN support “for efforts to end the outbreak”.
“With important shifts in the response now being implemented, the Secretary-General has emphasized his commitment to a collective UN-wide approach, both in Kinshasa, where the UN is led by his special representative, and in the areas affected by the virus, where the response is led by WHO [World Health Organization], all in close liaison with Congolese leaders both in Kinshasa and eastern DRC”, said his Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, in a statement on behalf of the UN chief.
Mr. Guterres reiterated that the full involvement and engagement of local people “remains the key to successfully controlling the outbreak” and urged “all Congolese leaders to work together across parties and across communities to tackle the outbreak”.
“At this critical juncture”, Mr. Guterres underscored the need for “additional resources” and called on Member States and partner organizations “to ensure the responding agencies have the resources needed to succeed”.
Meanwhile, amidst continuing violence, WHO experts (SAGE) have recommended new Ebola Vaccination Guidelines to address the challenges in stemming the virus.
Since the outbreak was declared in August 2018, WHO has said that despite the use of a highly efficacious vaccine, the number of new cases continues to rise, in part due to repeated violence, which has prevented response teams from immediately identifying and creating vaccination rings around all people at risk of contracting Ebola.