Ebola: WHO increases support for Guinea, DRC

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Dayo Ojerinde

The World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has said the agency has increased its support for Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to curtail the spread of Ebola outbreaks.

Moeti, at a virtual press conference on COVID-19 on Thursday, said WHO had deployed experts to support the national authorities in the countries to ramp up the response and avert widespread infections.

She said more than 100 WHO staff, deployed from other countries and from within Guinea were expected to be part of the Ebola response by the end of February.

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“A team of eight experts from the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville is leaving soon. Efforts are ongoing to step up surveillance, contact-tracing, testing and treatment as well as preparing for vaccination.

“We are hard at work, shifting quickly through the gears to get ahead of the virus. With experts and emergency supplies already getting on the ground, the response is off to a strong start.

“Our collective, quick action is crucial to averting an uncontrolled spread of Ebola amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has already pushed health workers and health facilities to the edge,” Moeti said.

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She added that a humanitarian flight arrived on February 15 in N’Zerekore with 700 kg of medical equipment donated by WHO and partners.

“In addition, more than 8,500 doses will be shipped from the United States of America for a total of 20, 000 doses. Vaccination is set to kick off shortly afterward.

“A 30-strong vaccination team has already been mobilised locally and is ready to deploy as soon as the vaccines are received,” the WHO official added.

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Recall that health authorities in Guinea on February 14 declared an Ebola outbreak after three cases were detected in Gouécké.

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