citation

"DRC Ebola News (7/16/19)." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 16, 2019. Accessed December 05, 2019. https://healthsecurity.csis.org/articles/drc-ebola-news-7-16-19/

Daily update for July 16th, 2019 on the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo Credit: Mike Stone/Getty Images

There were 12 new cases as of July 15th.

The outbreak has now surpassed the 2500 case mark.

The governor of North Kivu has confirmed the death of the first recorded Ebola patient in the key transit city of Goma.

The arrival of Ebola in Goma would substantially increase the at-risk population and heighten the potential for cross-border transmission to neighboring countries, particularly Rwanda. Researchers have provided some key considerations about the social, political and economic context of Goma in relation to the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC.

Yesterday, the United Nations hosted a high-level meeting in Geneva to take stock of the coordinated response and galvanize further support for the government-led effort to defeat the deadly disease.

Britain’s international development minister Rory Stewart called on France, Canada, and other G7 countries to offer more help in tackling the Ebola outbreak.

WHO AFRO Dashboard/DRC MoH Stats

DRC MoH Statistics

Total cases in DRC: 2,501

  • Confirmed cases: 2,407
  • Probable cases: 94
  • Suspected cases: 292

Deaths in DRC: 1,668

Vaccinated in DRC: 162,480

Priest’s death in Goma raises fears virus could spread more widely across Congo

Guardian

By Jason Burke, 7/16/19

The patient was a priest who became infected during a visit to the town of Butembo, one of the epicenters of the outbreak, before taking a bus to Goma. He was being driven from Goma to a clinic in Butembo on Monday to receive treatment when he died, North Kivu province’s governor, Carly Nzanzu, said. While in Butembo, the 46-year-old priest held regular services in seven churches, during which he laid his hands on worshippers, including people who were ill. Goma, more than 220 miles south of where the Ebola outbreak was first detected a year ago, is the largest city to be affected by the outbreak. Many of the region’s usable roads pass through Goma and it is a focus of air and water transport. Rwandan authorities have called for calm. Diane Gashumba, the health minister, said 2,600 health workers had been vaccinated. “This Ebola epidemic has now reached close to Rwanda. There is a need to be more vigilant and to avoid unnecessary visits to Goma,” she said.

Key considerations: Ebola preparedness and readiness in Goma, DRC

ReliefWeb

03/25/2019

REPORT from Social Science in Humanitarian Action: A Communication for Development Platform

Background on Goma: Goma is home to an estimated 1.5 million people and serves as an important economic and transportation hub that links eastern DRC to the broader East African sub-region. It is home to the offices of the Governor and Provincial Assembly of North Kivu, and has been the site of protest and democracy movements. Goma received widespread international attention when over one million refugees arrived in the city and its surrounding areas in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide; the mass arrival of Hutu refugees to eastern Congo (then Zaire) in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide serves as an important historical reference point for public health interventions in the city. Goma was also a critical site in the rebellions that produced the First and Second Congo Wars (1996-1997 and 1998-2003 respectively) and emerged as a major hub for humanitarian operations. Although all neighborhoods in Goma are potentially at risk of Ebola transmission, areas that formerly housed refugee and Internally Displace Person (IDP) camps are particularly vulnerable. Today, Goma hosts thousands of expatriate workers from NGOs and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

Goma’s transportation and entry points: Goma is a major transportation hub. It has an international airport with direct flights throughout East Africa that connect to Europe, the Middle East, and beyond. There are also domestic flights to large urban centers including Kinshasa, Kisangani, Lubumbashi, and others. In addition, air carriers such as the Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation (CAA), Busy Bee, UNHAS, and MONUSCO operate daily flights to Beni and Butembo. Overland traffic arrives in Goma daily from the Route Nationale 4, which runs through multiple territories. This overland traffic includes transport trucks, small buses (mini-bus), private cars and motorbikes. Goma is a port city that is linked to destinations on Idjwi Island and Bukavu, a city with an estimated population of over one million people that is the capital of South Kivu province. The large passenger boats that connect Goma to Bukavu can carry around 300 passengers and depart multiple times per day. Finally, Goma shares a border with the Rwandan city of Gisenyi, and thousands of people cross each day.

High-level meeting on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo affirms support for Government-led response and UN system-wide approach

WHO News

7/15/19

The meeting was chaired by the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock. Attendees included the DRC Minister of Health, Dr. Oly Ilunga, the Minister for Solidarity and Humanitarian Action, Mr. Bernard Biando Sango, and the Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom, the Rt. Hon. Rory Stewart, as keynote speakers. UN EERC David Gressly, WHO’s Dr. Ibrahima Socé Fall, and the president of the DRC Ebola Survivors’ Association, Dr. Maurice Kakule joined the event from eastern DRC via video-conference. Ms. Annette Dixon, World Bank Group Vice President for Human Development, also participated via video-conference from Washington DC. Dr. Tedros mentioned in his opening remarks that WHO has recorded 198 attacks on health facilities and health workers since January, killing 7 people, including the two responders murdered on Sunday. He also credited Minister Oly Ilunga for the daily case reporting and mentioned that about $18 million has been spent on preparedness in Uganda, compared with more than $250 million, and counting, on the response in DRC. He ended by announcing his decision to reconvene the Emergency Committee to reassess the threat. UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Dr. Omar Abdi spoke about community engagement, and the Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Mr. Elhadj As Sy, spoke on preparedness in the DRC and in neighboring countries. Dr Matshidiso Moeti also addressed preparedness. A representative from Medair, Dr. Trina Helderman, discussed the critical role that NGOs are playing in the response.

More updates from the meeting: According to a twitter thread posted by Helen Branswell, DRC’s health minister reiterated that no other Ebola vaccine but the one made by Merck, currently in use, will be approved for use in this outbreak. New Zealand and Finland announced their contributions to the WHO contingency fund; Finland, which has previously contributed, announced an additional 150,000 euros. Buffett Foundation also committed $5 million for work to improve maternal and child health related work in the response. A statement by a representative of Wellcome trust urged the use of a second vaccine, produced by Johnson & Johnson, as a primary prevention tool, and asked DRC to reconsider its decision not to use it. However, DRC’s health minister responded by stating that the discussions about introducing another vaccine at this time should be ended, seeing as the current Merck vaccine is effective and accepted by the populace.

Britain tells Canada and France to pull their weight on Ebola

Reuters

By Tom Miles, 7/15/19

At yesterday’s high-level meeting on the Ebola outbreak in Geneva, Rory Stewart, who visited DRC earlier this month, mentioned that Britain had donated $45 million towards a previous Ebola outbreak and the current one, and that he had authorized a further $63 million of British spending. “The United States, Britain and Germany had all donated generously, but other members of the G7 group of countries needed to do more. It would be wonderful if some francophone countries could provide more staff on the ground. We desperately need more French speakers deployed in the field,” Stewart said. The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief, Mike Ryan, said Canada had contributed $750,000 directly to the WHO effort, but had also donated to other agencies. It was also Canadian government money that funded the development of the Ebola vaccine that has saved many lives. Stewart said some donors at the packed U.N. meeting believed the response was well funded. “The World Bank has been making very positive comments about how they’ve got it all under control. They haven’t,” he said, adding that money was needed to double the number of WHO staff helping Congo’s neighbors, such as Burundi and South Sudan, prepare for a potential outbreak.

Twitter

Tweet by Gates Foundation– 7/15/19

@gatesfoundation

A highly effective vaccine and amazing new diagnostics are helping @MinSanteRDC + @WHO slow the spread of #Ebola in the DRC, but more action is needed to bring this outbreak to an end.

Tweet by Helen Branswell– 7/16/19

@HelenBranswell

There were 163 #Ebola cases reported in the first 14 days of July. Context: There were 161 cases reported in the entire month of January.

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