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Ebola outbreak in DR Congo tests global emergency readiness – Politics

With 2 major incidents in 2018, DR Congo faces an Ebola outbreak four years after a similar occurrence in West…

  • With 2 major incidents in 2018, DR Congo faces an Ebola outbreak four years after a similar occurrence in West Africa

  • The current outbreak in DRC’s North Kivu Province started days after the World Health Organization declared an end to the outbreak in DRC’s Equateur Province

  • Despite the outbreaks occurring in the same country with the same set of responders, the outbreak in North Kivu presents complex challenges to WHO

With two major outbreaks in 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing an Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak four years after a similar outbreak occurred in West Africa.

The current outbreak &#821

1; in DRC’s North Kivu Province – started days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the outbreak in DRC’s Equateur Province. At 185 confirmed cases and 107 deaths, the latest outbreak, which has more than doubled the Equator’s outbreak of 54 cases and 33 deaths, raises an alarm.

The outbreaks in DRC represent the largest Ebola outbreak since 2014.

In 2014, the EVD outbreak in West Africa exposed the inefficiencies of the global emergency response structure of the World Health Organization (WHO).

During this period, global actors – especially the United States (US). In this period, global actors – especially the United States (US) ) -Played key roles in responding to the outbreak through financial assistance and technical support. Trots at det var en aktiv rolle i 2014-utbruddet, USA-inngangen kom relativt sent med sine første nødsituasjoner som ankom i Guinea og Liberia etter 112 saker og 150 saker henholdsvis.

Surprisingly, the 2018 outbreak has received relatively lower international attention than the 2014 outbreaks.

Although the US currently budgetes $ 3.7 billion for international activities as part of its Global Health Security Strategy, there are some concerns about the government’s commitment to global health security, especially on international outbreaks such as the outbreak in DRC. Doubts over the US commitment to global health security has intensified after the government failed to appoint a senior official to oversee its international outbreak response.

Despite the modest support from the US and other international actors, the WHO – over the years and through its experience managing the 2014 outbreak – has enforced key reforms across its operations.

Some of its reforms include the reorganization of emergency response teams, the creation of the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) and the proactive engagement of new senior leadership in outbreak responses. The WHO also deployed the Ebola vaccine for the first time during the Ebola outbreak in the Equateur region earlier in the year and has so far vaccinated 18,000 people in DRC. Administration of vaccines clearly presents logistical challenges in DRC.

However, its deployment represents a key step in the efforts to combat the outbreak. WHO’s experience from the 2014 outbreak paved way for the success of the Ebola outbreak response in the Equator region earlier in 2018. Additionally, DRC has experienced more Ebola outbreaks than any country in the world and, as a result, has a developed coordinated response system and a history of controlling the outbreak.

Ondanks beide uitbrake in hetzelfde land met dezelfde set van responders, de uitbraak in North Kivu – met 185 bevestigde gevallen en 107 doods – presenteert complexe uitdagingen aan WHO en andere actoren op de grond .

Within security challenges, conflicts and an estimated 1 million refugees in North Kivu, public health efforts will be drastically undermined and will ultimately affect the efficiency of the emergency response. The WHO recently classified some areas in North Kivu as “red zones” making emergency response extremely difficult or impossible.

In September, a case of a militant attack led to the suspension of Ebola response by 48 hours. In addition, North Kivu borders major economic players in the region such as Uganda, Rwanda, and North Sudan. Den WHO erklærer at risikoen for overføring til disse lande gennem transportforbindelser eller bevægelser af flygtninge er nu “meget høj”.

A “potential perfect storm” as described Peter Salama, the Head of Emergency Response of the WHO – may occur if several dynamic factors, such as insecurity and resistance of vaccination, unite. På trods av denne gruppen har WHO ikke sett den nuværende udbruddet som et internasjonalt nødsituasjon, og har ikke nået ud til internationale donorer for nødfonde.

Beyond the security challenges and geographical risks of the outbreak in North Kivu, residents are also showing resistance to accept the Ebola vaccination while some infected persons avoid isolation and treatment. In addition, local politicians are also exploiting the public’s fear of the outbreak to politicize government’s response as the country approaches its general elections.

The expansion of the outbreak in North Kivu must clearly be treated as priority by international donors including the US . Een escalated outbreak kan leiden tot een internationale gezondheidskrisis die andere landen met de waarschijnlijkheid van kostbare impacten beïnvloedt. Vaccination, though proving relatively effective, is still in its experimental infancy and its production level may not be sufficient for an escalated scenario.

With the doubling rate of new cases within the last month, WHO must start reaching out to donors for emergency Fondsbørsen skulle ikke være i stand til at bekæmpe den nuværende udbrud. More importantly, USA bør være på forkant med at reagere ved at yte større bistand og finansiering som vigtige sundhedspolitiske aktørers reaktion på DRC-utbruddet.

* Article to be updated as event unfolds

] Ridwan Sorunke is an MA candidate in International Economy and International Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

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