World Health Organization extends emergency status of Ebola in DR Congo

WHO encouraged by fight against DRC EBOLA outbreak

WHO encouraged by fight against DRC EBOLA outbreak

Rebels have repeatedly attacked health workers struggling to contain the outbreak and people in communities who've never experienced the illness before remain wary of global aid workers.

United Nations health agency experts meet today to decide whether the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo should still be considered a global health emergency, following a sharp decline in reported cases.

DR Congo troops have captured 40 fighters from a militia blamed for killing hundreds in massacres across the restive eastern part of the country, the United Nations mission MONUSCO said Wednesday.

The World Health Organization last July declared it a "public health emergency of global concern" - a designation that gives the WHO greater powers to restrict travel and boost funding. The UN agency said the Committee was concerned that withdrawal of PHEIC might have adverse effects on the response efforts through diminishing focus. As of Monday, there were a total of 3,431 cases in the DRC, of which 3,308 were confirmed and 123 were probable, while 2,253 persons have died. "Strengthening a health system may not be as sexy as responding to an outbreak, but it is equally important", he said. He said World Health Organization needs $83 million to carry out its Ebola operation until June.

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"We are very encouraged by the current trend".

The Committee advised the Congolese authorities to sustain commitment and coordination on Ebola response and to strengthen community awareness and engagement. Cross-border screening and monitoring at checkpoints around hotspots and at main roads should also continue.

Mr. Tedros, who will be travelling to DRC on Thursday to meet President Felix Tshisekedi, on Tuesday said only three cases had been reported in the past week.

An experimental vaccine, which proved highly protective during a 2015 trial in Guinea, is being used in the DRC outbreak.

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