'The Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a public health emergency of international concern, the World Health Organization has declared, calling for more funds and support to close it down.
The second biggest Ebola outbreak ever, after the 2014-16 epidemic in west Africa, has reached a critical point with the diagnosis of a case in Goma, a city of 2 million people, which is a transport hub on the border with Rwanda. That follows the case last week of a women who crossed into Uganda to buy fish – and the arrival of a family harbouring the virus, three of whom died, in Uganda last month.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, appealed on Wednesday for the international community to help with funds. WHO is working on a new plan to control the epidemic, he said, which would cost “hundred of millions” of dollars.
“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,” said Tedros.
“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.”
He has made previous appeals for donors to provide the money they have promised. So far, only about half the pledges have come in. The WHO was not aware of any donor who has withheld funding because an emergency had not been declared, he said, “but if that was the excuse, it can no longer be used”.
Tedros appealed for countries not to seal their borders or close down travel to the DRC, arguing that it would only harm the attempts to end the epidemic.'
Read more: Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola epidemic is international emergency, says WHO
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