The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is witnessing the second largest world Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, which started about one year ago.
As of today, the current EVD has killed over 2,181 individuals with over 3,264 recorded cases. Moreover, after a yearlong fight against EVD in an armed conflict zones in Eastern DRC, the outbreak spilled over into a high densely populated city of Goma and neighbouring Uganda; and poses a very high risk to the region of more than 280 million inhabitants.
Like other partners, the African Union, through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), has been supporting the efforts of the government of the DRC from the beginning of the outbreak.
Given the health, economic, and security threat that this deadly disease poses to the continent, the Africa Union is calling for mobilization of all Africans and friends of Africa to show increased solidarity with communities affected and those at highest risk.
African leadership, ownership, and solutions are highly needed to address this crisis. As such, the African Union will:
Mobilize African health workers who have vast experiences from the AU support mission to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA). Currently, more than 500 volunteers from different disciplines: doctors, nurses, epidemiologist, laboratory experts, and infection prevention experts have shown interest to support this efforts.
Mobilize up to 600 local health workers and community volunteers to reach out the most remote corners of affected health areas and zones, to address the critical challenges of community engagement and ownership.
Build local capacities and diagnostic capabilities by procuring and placing of laboratory facilities, and border screening machines and infection prevention and control supplies.
Strengthen preparedness measures and capacities of most at risk neighbouring countries.
Strengthen the local health systems including placing of surveillance platform, diagnostic capacities for early detection, rapid response and containment of future outbreaks at the source.
All these need additional financial and in kind resources. In 2014, the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust Fund was a game changer in bringing an end to EVD in West Africa that accounted for about 11,000 deaths, by investing in the continent’s capacity to respond to public health emergencies through the deployment of African Health Workers.