AFTER a battle lasting two years, the Democratic Republic of Congo has defeated the Ebola virus, which claimed the lives of 2300 people in the north-eastern parts of the Great Lakes country.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now urged the DRC to use the measures used to eradicate Ebola to fight the COVID-19 virus, which is wreaking havoc on lives and economies across Africa and the world.
WHO secretary-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has announced that there are no cases of Ebola, which infected 3500 people, with 1200 surviving it. DRC Minister of Health Lungondo Eteni confirmed the victory over one of the longest and deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history.
“WHO is proud to have worked under the leadership of the Government of the DRC to bring this outbreak under control. This has only been possible thanks to the service and sacrifice of thousands of Congolese health workers, working side by side with colleagues from WHO and many other partners. I salute them all,” said Ghebreyesus.
He said many of the public health measures that have been successful in stopping Ebola were the same measures that are now essential for suppressing COVID-19.
“Finding every case, isolating every case, testing every case, caring for every case and relentless contact tracing. These are the measures that must remain the backbone of the response in every country. There are no short-cuts.
“But Ebola and COVID-19 are only two of the health threats facing the people of DRC, and many other low- and middle-income countries. That’s why WHO is committed to continuing to work with the people and government of DRC to strengthen its health system and support it on the road towards universal health coverage,” said Ghebreyesus.
The WHO secretary-general made the remarks in a keynote address to a virtual conference, hosted by the African Union, on Africa’s leadership role in the development and access to the potential COVID-19 vaccines.