The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has finally been declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The outbreak in DRC is the second-largest on record. So far, 2500 people have been infected, and 1600 of those have died.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) saying, “It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts. We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system. Extraordinary work has been done for almost a year under the most difficult circumstances. We all owe it to these responders -- coming from not just WHO but also government, partners and communities -- to shoulder more of the burden.”
A PHEIC is a formal declaration by WHO of “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”, formulated when a situation arises that is "serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected", which "carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border" and "may require immediate international action".
The declaration followed a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for EVD in the DRC. A confirmed case in Goma, a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world, is cited as being of influence to making the PHEIC.
This was the fourth Emergency Committee meeting since the outbreak was declared on 1 August 2018.
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