citation

"DRC Ebola News (7/23/19)." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 23, 2019. Accessed August 23, 2019. https://healthsecurity.csis.org/articles/drc-ebola-news-7-23-19/

Daily update for July 23rd, 2019 on the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo Credit: Mike Stone/Getty Images

There were 14 new cases as of July 22nd.

Named in December 2016 by Joseph Kabila, Oly Ilunga announced in a letter sent yesterday to current DRC President Felix Tshisekedi his resignation. Oly Ilunga’s resignation came after the president’s office announced on Saturday it was assigning responsibility for the response to a multi-disciplinary team that would report directly to Tshisekedi. The president’s new technical and multisectoral team will be headed by Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, one of the researchers who investigated the first known Ebola outbreak in 1976.

Laurie Garrett calls out the World Bank for failing to release its Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) funds that were designed to address public health crises such as the current outbreak in DRC.

WHO says the DRC Ebola emergency will require about three times more money than currently provided.

DRC authorities ban Kinshasa rallies over tensions

WHO AFRO Dashboard/DRC MoH Stats

DRC MoH Statistics

Total cases in DRC: 2,592

  • Confirmed cases: 2,498
  • Probable cases: 94
  • Suspected cases: 272

Deaths in DRC: 1,743

Vaccinated in DRC: 171,052

DRC’s health minister quits over government handling of Ebola

Al Jazeera

7/22/19

“As a result of your decision to place the response to the Ebola outbreak under your direct supervision … I hereby submit my resignation as health minister,” Ilunga said. In his resignation letter, Ilunga also criticized outside pressure to deploy a second Ebola vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. “It would be fanciful to think that the new vaccine proposed by actors, who have shown an obvious lack of ethics by voluntarily hiding important information from medical authorities, could have a significant impact on the control of the current outbreak,” The World Health Organization (WHO) and Medecins Sans Frontieres have publicly called for the use of the second vaccine, as well as Josie Golding, epidemics lead for The Wellcome Trust. But Ilunga said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had proved ineffective and deploying a second vaccine would confuse people. The company has said the vaccine, which has gone through phase 1 trials, is safe.

The World Bank Has the Money to Fight Ebola but Won’t Use It

Foreign Policy

By Laurie Garrett, 7/22/19

The idea of PEF was to amass billions of dollars in insurance, bonds, and hedge funds that could be activated, based on unstated triggers, for use in fighting outbreaks. The key objective of the PEF is “providing financial support to PEF Eligible Countries and Responding Agencies to help prevent a high-severity infectious disease outbreak from becoming a pandemic.” Beyond the small sum of $20 million given two months ago by the World Bank, the PEF has not been activated for the Ebola epidemic. To date, the World Bank has released $60 million in development funds, which do not come from the PEF, to the Congolese government for its Ebola efforts, and just $20 million from the PEF to WHO and UNICEF. According to the French foreign-aid agency GHA France, those managing the PEF insisted this week that “activation criterion of the insurance window are not linked to decision about IHR procedures concerning PHEIC,” meaning that WHO may declare a global emergency, but it will not have any impact on the World Bank’s decision to release money.

Back in 2017 when the creation of PEF was announced, Garrett repeatedly asked World Bank officials about what would constitute a trigger for release of funds, and who would decide on this release, but never received answers. World Bank President, David Malpass, has not publicly commented on PEF.

Ebola funding needs to triple as international risk escalates

Bloomberg via H5N1

7/23/19

WHO estimates $324 million is needed to fund its response and preparedness in the Africa region over the next six months. The money sought is on top of the $114 million contributed since August and will largely support the massive scale up of dozens of teams administering protective vaccines to vulnerable Congolese communities, undertaking disease surveillance and reporting, and bolstering capacity at treatment centers, said Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman. “This may seem like a lot of money to invest in this, but it’s going to cost the world a lot more if we don’t get this under control,” said Michael Osterholm, director of CIDRAP.

Twitter

Tweet by Jennifer Nuzzo– 7/23/19

@JenniferNuzzo

Global health security financing IS in complete disarray. But blame should be directed at national governments who’re not doing their parts to support and fund the #Ebola response. Only a small # of countries have contributed to @WHO’s contingency fund, which is outrageous.

Tweet by Mike Ryan– 7/22/19

@DrMikeRyan

Thank you New Zealand for the generous NZ$ 4.5 million commitment to WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies – this helps @WHO respond quickly to health emergencies and saves lives https://www.who.int/emergencies/funding/contingency-fund/en/

Tweet by Helen Branswell– 7/22/19

@HelenBranswell

DRC’s @MinSanteRDC has issued its last #Ebola update. Responsibility for the response has moved to an expert committee. These folks know Ebola, so hopeful it will be productive. But the health ministry’s comms operations have been terrific; hope someone else there continues this.

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