According to a statement from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (EDC), the 11th outbreak of Ebola in the DRC has been declared over. So said Eteni Longondo, the Minister of Health for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on 18 November.
First declared an outbreak on 1 June 2020, and causing 130 cases and 55 deaths, the 11th outbreak of Ebola in the DRC took place in the Equator Province in north-western DRC.
Lessons learnt for Covid
WHO noted that vaccinations were a key part of the response, having vaccinated over 40,000 people at high risk of falling sick from Ebola. And the organisation also reasoned that lessons learnt from the response would be an aid in the fight against Covid.
“The technology used to keep the Ebola vaccine at super-cold temperatures will be helpful when bringing a Covid-19 vaccine to Africa. Tackling Ebola in parallel with Covid-19 hasn’t been easy, but much of the expertise we’ve built in one disease is transferrable to another and underlines the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and building local capacity,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
A united response key to overcoming health challenges
It’s not a new concept – many experts and organisations have long been advocating collaboration in helping to overcome dangerous diseases. Public health should come as the top priority – above profits, and WHO’s response work in the DRC has been integral to ensuring that this is the case here.
Let’s hope a similar ethos can be applied to Covid-19 once a vaccination becomes available to the market. It’s a point that Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth also made – that having access to safe, effective and affordable Covid-19 vaccines will be a key part of lowering travel risk and helping countries restore their livelihoods.
“Overcoming one of the world’s most dangerous pathogens in remote and hard-to-access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.