The Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has declared the Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a ”public health emergency of international concern.”
The declaration followed a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was the fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee since the outbreak was declared on 1 August 2018.
The Committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma, a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.
The Chairperson of the emergency committee, Prof Robert Steffen, appealed to regional governments and reinforced the need to protect livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open. He also expressed disappointment about delays in funding which have constrained the response
Since it was declared almost a year ago the outbreak has been classified as a level 3 emergency – the most serious – by WHO, triggering the highest level of mobilization from WHO.
The UN has also recognized the seriousness of the emergency by activating the Humanitarian System-wide Scale-Up to support the Ebola response.