For months now the World Health Organization has remained adamant declaring the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo a global emergency.
The global health body has admitted that the outbreak which has killed over one thousand people was “very much an emergency” but says that is the case only in the region.
But the WHO says in spite of the devastation the outbreak has caused it did not pose a global threat.
After a panel of 13 independent medical experts on the W.H.O’s Emergency Committee met on Friday it was revealed that the crisis cannot be declared as a global threat.
Declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern is one of the most important acts the W.H.O can take.
Should the WHO declare the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”, that would demand an international response.
Such a decision would led to boosting public health measures, mobilizing funding among others to fight the outbreak.
Defending W.H.O stance
But Dr Preben Aavitsland, the acting chair of the WHO’s emergency committee, said declaring an emergency could lead to border closures or airlines refusing to fly to DRC.
“There is nothing to gain, but there is a lot to lose,” he said adding efforts on the ground “would not be enhanced” by declaring an emergency.
In the past the WHO had declared global health emergency including one on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa which killed more than 11,000 people.
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 14, 2019
For more than a year the issue of declaring Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo a global threat has been a major issue of discussion for the WHO experts.
Experts push for emergency declaration
International public health experts have consistently urged the World Health Organization to declare an Ebola emergency in the Congo.
Emergency Cte fails to rec PHEIC. I’m baffled & deeply troubled. @DrTedros has to follow EC rec politically. But he’s on the ground in DRC showing by example this is a crisis. If 1400 #Ebola cases & intl spread isn’t a pheic then what would it take! We need decisive action now
— Lawrence Gostin (@LawrenceGostin) June 14, 2019
The experts last year wrote in the Lancet that such a move should help put together “high-level political, financial, and technical support to address the Ebola outbreak that started last May”.
The World Health Organization has already said the current Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo is getting out of control.
The current outbreak is the second worst worldwide since West Africa’s Ebola outbreak between 2014-16.
There have been over 2,084 cases and 1,405 deaths since the outbreak was declared in August last year.
The Ebola outbreak in the DRC is tragic and an emergency, but does not pose a global health threat, says WHO’s @DrTedros following meeting of emergency committee. @WHO calls on partners for more funding to address the outbreak, which has spread to Uganda. pic.twitter.com/UMPcUBJGXp
— APHA (@PublicHealth) June 14, 2019
Fast spreading across borders
The outbreak has already spread to neighboring Uganda with deaths already recorded.
Uganda officials have suspended mass gatherings in the Kasese district where cases of the deadly Ebola virus have been recorded.
The country had earlier said it was on alert for a potential outbreak from DR Congo. It has been vaccinating it’s citizens against the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been mobilizing 3,500 additional vaccines for that exercise.
But it appears many people are outrage that despite the deepening crisis, the W.H.O is refusing to declare the outbreak a global emergency.
— james m sims (@jamesmsims57) June 14, 2019
this dude says ebola is treated as high risk and sense of emergency in the DRC but does not pose any threat globally, there wont be any urgent emergent global interventions but to the economy for them theres a lot to lose. the world is benefiting from Africa #AfricaWakeup #Ebola pic.twitter.com/OX9bHAqLBk
— G Wagon – AMG ZA (@Hakim_King_) June 15, 2019
New Ebola is the 2nd largest in human history and NOT yet considered a global threat. 1st case reported some time back but the extent of the spread is unknown. Pray for all impacted by this ‘truly frightening’ outbreak. https://t.co/ioNG7sRRHa
— Philip J Fernandez (@Fernaph) June 13, 2019
— Prince, MAYUA (@klmayua) June 14, 2019
Ebola is unfortunately not the only outbreak out of control in DRC. Tuberculosis, Cholera, Measles (among others) are also out of control. This country constitutes a global health threat. Time to act for the people rather than spoil its mineral resources https://t.co/BcBqtT7IMs
— Emmanuel André (@Emmanuel_microb) June 12, 2019