Published On: Tue, Apr 30th, 2019

Ebola outbreak 2019 ‘profoundly worrying’ warns WHO chief – ‘MAJOR strategy shift’ needed | World | News

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Dr Ghebreyesus visited the Butembo region along with Dr Matshidiso Moeti. It was in Butembo on April 19 that WHO epidemiologist Dr Richard Mouzoko was killed by armed men while he and colleagues were working on the response to what is the second-worst outbreak of in history. Dr Ghebreyesus said: “Dr Mouzoko’s death moved me profoundly.

“On this mission, he was on my mind the whole time as we met with other dedicated colleagues.

“I am also profoundly worried about the situation. Cases are increasing because of violent acts that set us back each time. We have already begun to adjust our response.

“We are entering a phase where we will need major shifts in the response. WHO and partners cannot tackle these challenges without the international community stepping in to fill the sizeable funding gap.”

Dr Ghebreyesus and Dr Moeti travelled to the region to express their gratitude and show support to WHO and partner organisation staff, while also assessing the next steps needed to strengthen both security and the response effort.

During their visit they also met with local political, business and religious leaders, and called on them to accelerate their efforts to stabilise the surrounding environment.

They urged the international community to step up support to contain the outbreak, including filling the funding gap that threatens to stymie the Ebola response.

Most Ebola response activities, including community engagement, vaccination, and case investigation, have been re-launched following a slowdown in the wake of the attack which left Dr Mouzoko dead and two people injured.

However, Dr Ghebreyesus and Dr Moeti voiced their concern deep concern that a rise in reported cases in recent weeks is straining resources even further.

Dr Moeti said: “My pride and respect for my extraordinary colleagues has only grown.

“They have been through something unimaginable and yet are willing to continue this vital work.

“We need the security situation to be under control for them and for the local people.

“During our mission, we had fruitful discussions with the partners who provide cover to see what more could be done.

“Meanwhile, we will continue to work with various groups and embed our response at the community level.”

He added: “We will continue to adjust the response, as we have done for each context in each community.

“This worrisome rise in cases is a further call to action. In the end, it is only through the ownership by all the affected communities that the outbreak will end.

“Some would have drive us apart. We can only defeat it if we all work together.” 

As of April 28, there were 1466 cases being treated, 1400 of them confirmed as Ebola, the remainder probably. Of this number, 957 have died.

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