TThe chief executive of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that health officials were progressing against the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo and that the footprint of the area of the epidemic was actually contracting.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who visited the outbreak area last week, presented his cautious observations, just hours after the latest attack on an Ebola treatment center. to an end.
On Wednesday, there had been 927 cases and 584 deaths, making it the second-largest epidemic of Ebola ever recorded. But Tedros, as he is called, said he is convinced that the Congolese government and international partners working on the answer will succeed the job.
"Their dedication is unprecedented," he said at a press conference in Geneva. "The world community must stay the course."
His optimism is not shared universally. Dr. Joanne Liu, international president of the medical group Doctors Without Borders, criticized Ebola response efforts last week, stressing that the current approach did not control the epidemic. The group withdrew its staff from two cities in the DRC, saying it was too dangerous to stay after last month's attacks on Ebola treatment centers that Liu's organization was operating.
"We are not sure if we continue to do what we do [it] will take us to the end of things, "said Liu at a press conference.
Tedros did not mention Liu specifically, but he opposed suggestions that the response to the outbreak was failing. He noted that the average number of weekly cases dropped from 50 in January to 25.
The virus has not yet spread to other parts of the Congo or neighboring countries, who have prepared for this event by vaccinating health workers at facilities close to the border that are not available. they share with the DRC. And in the area of the outbreak, the transmission has been contained in a number of places, said Tedros, Butembo and Katwa remaining hot spots active.
The last facility to be burned for the Ebola virus on Thursday was a transit center in Biena. Transit centers are facilities where people suspected of having Ebola await the results of their tests.
The director general said the response to the outbreak must strike a delicate balance, protecting its workers but also seeking to gain the trust of the community. The violence against Ebola facilities is actually an attack on affected communities, said Tedros. He described the attackers as people who only knew violence.
"They do not understand the language of political settlement or negotiation," Tedros said. "The only language they know is just filming."
WHO has predicted that it will take at least several more months to end this epidemic. In the meantime, it has become more difficult to raise funds for this effort. Of the estimated $ 148 million needed for the first six months of 2019, only $ 31 million has been disbursed and an additional $ 58 million has been announced. That leaves a gap of nearly $ 60 million, said the general manager.
There is no choice but to stop the virus, he warned.
"To be honest, leaving the region is not an option. Evacuation is not an option, "Tedros said. "We will lose what we have won so far. And not only that, the virus will have a free trick to spread aggressively. "