citation

"DRC Ebola News (10/4/19)." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 04, 2019. Accessed October 11, 2019. https://healthsecurity.csis.org/articles/drc-ebola-news-10-4-19/

Daily update for October 4th, 2019 on the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Photo Credit: Mike Stone/Getty Images

There was 1 new case as of October 2nd.

Yesterday, Tanzania rejected suspicions that it might have covered up cases of the deadly Ebola virus, calling it a plot to show the country “in a bad light.”

Questions arise on the state of the International Health Regulations (IHR) as a global governance structure for infectious disease outbreaks.

Vaccinating against Ebola in a challenging context

DRC MoH Statistics/WHO AFRO Dashboard (as of October 2)

WHO AFRO Dashboard

Total cases: 3,198

  • Confirmed cases: 3,084
  • Probable cases: 114
  • Suspected cases: 430

Deaths: 2,137

Vaccinated: 231,594

Tanzania rejects suspicions that it covered up Ebola cases

Washington Post

By Tom Odula, 10/3/19

Tanzanian Health Minister, Ummy Mwalimu, said there were two suspected Ebola cases last month but determined they did not have the virus. “Ebola is not a disease one can hide,” Mwalimu said. “Tanzania is well aware of the dangers of hiding such an epidemic.” His comments came after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement saying Tanzania refused to share information and the United States and Britain issued travel warnings. Global health officials had repeatedly asked Tanzania to share the results of its investigations, but Mwalimu asserted there is no need to submit a “negative sample” for further testing. Tanzania’s health minister said the country will follow international protocols, including reporting to WHO, “if there is an Ebola case.” Critics have shown increasing alarm as Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s government has restricted access to key information and cracked down on perceived dissent. Lawmakers recently approved an amendment to a statistics law to make it a crime to distribute information not sanctioned by the government or which contradicts the government.

Ebola in Tanzania? A question on global governance for infectious diseases

Devex

By Jenny Lei Ravelo, Sara Jerving, 10/3/19

IHR is an international, legally-binding instrument agreed to by 194 countries in monitoring and controlling the international spread of diseases. But beyond a public call-out, there’s not much WHO can do to compel countries to report public health events under IHR. It is a treaty with “very limited sticks,” said Rebecca Katz, professor and director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University. Katz noted how no country has really been punished for not building its core health capacities, even though it’s part of countries’ obligations under the treaty.

If a state wants to file a dispute against Tanzania for not reporting, the treaty has a mechanism in place under Article 56. If this fails to resolve the issue, the state can seek the help of the WHO director-general for arbitration or seek dispute settlement mechanisms of other intergovernmental organizations. WHO can also issue travel and trade recommendations, which could have massive economic consequences for the country in question, Katz said. But the likelihood of that happening is low compared to countries violating the aid agency’s recommendations to keep borders open.

The fact that IHR does not have enforcement mechanisms in place is not unusual, said David Fidler, adjunct senior fellow for cybersecurity and global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. The United Nations doesn’t have enforcement powers, and that’s how international law works, he said. But even if a country has any issues with another country in the application or interpretation of the treaty, the dispute mechanism has not been and would not be the best strategy to pursue, he argued. Most disputes don’t get resolved in international courts, but through diplomacy, pressure, dialogue, incentives, and other things, he said. Fidler underscored that IHR remains an important framework, but fear of the repercussions if confidence in some components of IHR, such as the declaration of a PHEIC, starts collapsing.

Twitter

Tweet by Dr Alexandra Phelan– 10/4/19

@alexandraphelan

Hong Kong reports suspected Ebola case.

⬇️First test was negative for Ebola.

⬇️Retest in 2 days.

⬇️Patient travelled to Kinshasa: no contact w sick persons or travel to affected provinces.

Good example of transparent & timely reporting.

https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201910/04/P2019100400614.htm?fontSize=1

Tweet by John Nkengasong– 10/4/19

@JNkengasong

Today I visited HE Jean-Léon Ngandu Ilunga, @Presidence_RDC Ambassador in Addis Ababa to @_AfricanUnion. This visit is part of the preparations of the @AfricaCDC high-level Ministerial Meeting on #Ebola to be held in #Goma on 21st October, 2019.

Tweet by David Gressly– 10/4/19

@DavidGressly

Turn the volume up and join in with Marguerite (who doesn’t know yet she’s the 1000th survivor) as she dances along with the team and survivors to celebrate that they are going back home after successfully beating #Ebola #1000survivors @MinSanteRDC @IMC_Worldwide @UN

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