WHO warns new Ebola outbreak in Congo faces funding gap

A view of an Ebola treatment center in Mangina, North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. EPA-EFE/HUGH KINSELLA CUNNINGHAM

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The World Health Organization said it is facing a “serious funding gap” to battle the new outbreak of Ebola in remote corners of northern Congo amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The $1.75 million raised so far will only last for a few more weeks, the WHO warned, adding that the response effort is particularly expensive because of how difficult it is to get health teams and supplies into the densely forested area.

Already there have been 24 deaths since the outbreak was declared on June 1. The emergence of Ebola in Congo’s northern Equateur province came just as the world’s second deadliest Ebola outbreak was nearing its end.

The funding shortage threatens to unravel early gains in this epidemic. When Equateur province last had Ebola cases in 2018, it took health officials two weeks to start vaccinating people. This time around, vaccination teams were mobilized within four days of the outbreak declaration, Moeti said.

No licensed vaccine existed when Ebola killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa between 2014-2016. After Ebola cases emerged in eastern Congo in August 2018, health teams eventually were able to combat the disease with two different vaccines.

Read more via AP

 

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