from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE World Health Organisation (WHO) is stepping up efforts to curb Ebola outbreaks in both the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Guinea.
WHO is deploying teams of experts to support the national authorities ramp up the response and avert widespread infections.
While Ebola outbreaks are prevalent in DRC, authorities in Guinea declared an Ebola outbreak on February 14.
More than 100 WHO staff, deployed from other countries and from within Guinea, are expected to be part of the Ebola response by the end of the month.
A team of eight experts from the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville is leaving soon.
Efforts are ongoing to step up surveillance, contact-tracing, testing and treatment as well as preparing for vaccination.
“We are hard at work, shifting quickly through the gears to get ahead of the virus,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“With experts and emergency supplies already getting on the ground, the response is off to a strong start. Our collective, quick action is crucial to averting an uncontrolled spread of Ebola amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has already pushed health workers and health facilities.”
A humanitarian flight arrived on February 15 in N’Zerekore with 700 kg of medical equipment donated by WHO and partners.
A consignment of more than 11 000 doses of Ebola vaccine is expected to arrive in Guinea this weekend. In addition, more than 8 500 doses will be shipped from the United States of America for a total of 20 000 doses.
The ongoing response in Guinea and preparedness in neighbouring countries is building upon the experience gained during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
It is the worst outbreak of the virus since it was first detected in the then-Zaire in 1976.
There were 28 000 cases and 11 000 deaths.
– CAJ News