Monday, June 17, 2019
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Democratic Republic of Congo: "No time to waste," says the newly appointed Ebola United Nations Response Coordinator

Amid an increase in new cases, the epidemic has claimed more than 1,200 deaths and threatens to spread to other provinces in the east as well as neighboring countries. One third of the infected were children. a higher proportion than previous outbreaks.

By mid-month, according to the United Nations, the number of cases was 1,847 (1,759 confirmed and 88 likely). In total, there were 1,223 deaths (1,135 confirmed and 88 likely) and 487 people survived the deadly virus.

"The Ebola response works in an operating environment of unprecedented complexity for an emergency in healthcare, and insecurity and political protests have led to regular disruptions in our efforts to combat the disease," said EERC David Gressly, who also serves as deputy chief of the Stabilization Mission United Nations for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO.

Although the United Nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have supported the efforts of the government and the Congolese to contain the virus in parts of the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, persistent insecurity and mistrust of the population continue to hinder access. This prevents the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health from detecting, treating and vaccinating sick people, which ultimately leads to more intense Ebola transmission.

The increasingly complex environment has led the United Nations, in partnership with the government and other states, to increase its political commitment and operational support to negotiate better access to communities. Strengthening support for humanitarian coordination; Strengthening preparedness and preparedness for the Goma region and neighboring countries.

WHO is adapting its public health strategies to identify and treat people as soon as possible. Extension of the vaccine to more people; and increased efforts to curb transfers of healthcare facilities.

The heart of the matter

He pointed out that "an increased United Nations response is needed to overcome these operational constraints", stressing that "this is the shift of senior management and operational decision-making to the epicenter of the Butembo epidemic", where Secretary-General António Guterres , has established a reinforced coordination and support mechanism.

Additional UN action will support the critical work of local NGOs and agencies, including UNICEF, which direct community engagement activities. Provision of psychosocial interventions; and help to prevent infections caused by water, sanitation and hygiene services.

In addition, accelerated financial planning and reporting will be accelerated to ensure the sustainable and predictable funding needed for a strategic Ebola response plan.

"This system-wide and international support is exactly what WHO has called for," said Ibrahima Socé Fall, deputy director-general of the UN Civil Protection Board. He acknowledged that the response to the outbreak must be "owned by the local population" and was pleased that the new approach reflected what was required: "Better safety for patients and health workers, better access to immunization and immunization more human face versus the answer ".

Dr. Case has been in Butembo since the end of March and works with the Ebola Incident Manager of the WHO, Dr. Michel Yao, together. In the capital Kinshasa, WHO Peter Graaff to coordinate with the local partners. WHO will continue to coordinate public health interventions undertaken by other UN partners.

As EERC, Mr. Gressly will work closely with the WHO as it continues to underpin the government's response and direct all health and technical assistance measures.

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