Ebola Still a Public Health Emergency in DRC; More Funding is Needed

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that Ebola is still a public health emergency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). WHO has recommended the maintenance of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) for Ebola for another three months. The purpose of declaring the PHEIC was to obtain funding for the outbreak, but it has not met this expectation.

A woman and child wait to receive the Ebola vaccination in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Source: Reuters).

There have been 15 cases within the last week, which should be encouraging but the WHO has said that we must be cautious as each case may bring on a new outbreak. The WHO has not provided a timeline for when the outbreak may end.

Because of the risk of another outbreak, it is recommended that resources continue to be dedicated to Ebola. There are still misunderstandings about how Ebola is transmitted and the symptoms. There is also mistrust, especially related to vaccination. This may impact reporting and response engagement.

Despite declaring PHEIC, there has not been enough money distributed to address Ebola outbreaks. While the response requires close to $400 million, only $126 million has been received. For preparedness, the DRC needs around $66 million but has only received $4.5 million. The WHO has been working closely with the World Bank to see how to accelerate the disbursement of money that has been already pledged. Read more at Devex.com.