WHO ‘encouraged’ by Ebola fight in DR Congo

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WHO Director-General Tedros AdhanomThe World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom speaks at a press briefing on Thursday 17 June, 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The World Health Organization is impressed by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s response to the Ebola outbreak in the country.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said in a press briefing on Thursday that the country could declare and end to the outbreak if no more cases are reported in the next week.

“Together, we can achieve anything and I am encouraged by progress in tackling the Ebola outbreak in the East of the DR Congo,” said Tedros in his briefing held in Geneva.

The WHO chief noted that the country was now better prepared to tackle the latest outbreak, taking lessons from its response to previous outbreaks. He added that those lessons would be critical in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The lessons learned and experience gained by Congolese health workers are now being applied to inform the Ebola outbreak response in the West of the DR Congo, as well as broader lessons on testing and contact tracing, which are directly transferable for tackling COVID-19,” he said.

In his briefing on Wednesday, Tedros took the opportunity to highlight the increased threat on vulnerable communities around the world as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that while COVID-19 has caused havoc since its outbreak, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) still cause suffering to many people around the world.

NTDs are a group of 20 diseases including elephantiasis, sleeping sickness, leprosy, trachoma and intestinal worms that collectively wreak havoc on the poorest and most marginalized communities.

“These diseases disfigure, disable and can kill, and they strike hardest in places of poverty and in remote areas where access to quality health services is extremely limited,” he said.

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