DRC : Government Announces End of 11th Ebola Epidemic in Equateur Province

DRC : Government Announces  End of 11th Ebola Epidemic in Equateur Province

The Congolese Minister of Public Health, Dr. Eteni Longondo announced on Wednesday, November 18, the end of the 11th Ebola epidemic that has killed about 55 peoples in North-west Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.

The 11th Ebola epidemic began  early June, and has caused 130 Ebola cases and 55 death. However, the epidemic lasted five months before  it was contained. It comes clear that, the main challenges in containing the disease was complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by the spread of Ebola cases in remote areas in dense rain forests.

According to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in DRC, David McLachlan-Karr,  the engagement of communities had made it possible to stop the outbreak immediately with a better medical response, especially concerning drugs and vaccines. He equally congratulated the government and health partners on ending the outbreak of the  disease.

Besides, the World Health Organisation’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti added that, “Overcoming one of the world’s most dangerous pathogens in remote and hard to access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together,”  she said.

 On his part, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, WHO,  Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressed hope toward the good news as he wrote in a tweet  that, “This great achievement shows that together we can overcome any health challenge.”

However, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, UNICEF, is planning to work with the local health authorities in Equateur to ensure that mothers and children in the areas previously affected by Ebola continue to receive quality essential health care. This includes improving water and sanitation in health centres, promoting hygiene practices in affected communities, provide psychosocial support to Ebola survivors, as well as children affected by the epidemic.

Though the outbreak is over, children affected by the Ebola epidemic will still require special attention and care, as communities affected begin to return to normal life,Edouard Beigbeder, the  UNICEF Representative in the DRC stated.

The previous Ebola outbreak in the Equateur Province in DCR, was the deadliest and longest in the country,  with a fatality rate of 66%. The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 and the worst outbreak on record hit West Africa in 2014-2016. Although that outbreak killed more than 10,000 people, it also gave rise to the development of a highly effective vaccine and several treatments for Ebola virus disease.

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