Goma Current Affairs - 2020

DRC plans surveillance, vaccination training to tackle Ebola

Democratic Republic of Congo has been scaled up its fight against Ebola in country after World Health Organization (WHO), the global health body sounded an alarm over its outbreak. WHO declared disease an international health emergency after a Ebola case was confirmed in Goma, a densely populated eastern city that borders Rwanda.

Key Highlights

The discovery of Ebola case in Goma was triggering point for WHO against declaring the outbreak a global emergency as it signaled a change- inside Goma lies an international airport, which some health experts described as gateway to rest of the world.

As per WHOs’ Emergency Operations reporting over the course of these outbreak, people traveling from Goma, including across border into Rwanda, everyone’s being checked. Congolese supported by international committees have tested over 70 million travelers.

Strategy: As a team led by veteran Ebola researcher Jean-Jacques Muyembe, first thing is to train young people of decision (the strategy) so they would be in charge of vaccination, of surveillance and then involve population of Benin, of Mangina, to follow the strategy we will implement there.

International Community and DRC government have come up with a program aimed at strengthening response to Ebola outbreak over next 6 months, however they are calling on world to contribute more money to help contain deadly disease that has killed more than 1,700 people since August 2018.

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WHO declares Ebola outbreak in DRC as a Global Health Emergency

World Health Organization (WHO) has declared deadly Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’. This announcement comes after Ebola virus spread to a city of 2 million people.

Key Highlights

Meaning: Invoking the emergency provision by WHO of declaring a Public health emergency of international concern, is a rare designation which is only used for gravest epidemics. This is done when there is an extraordinary event which constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

Condition: As per WHO’s international health regulations, drafted in 2005, the emergency label should apply to a situation that is an extraordinary event which poses public health risk to other countries via international spread and that potentially requires a coordinated international response.

Impact: Declaring global health emergency brings greater international attention and aid, along with concerns that nervous governments might overreact with border closures.

Reason: The year-old Ebola epidemic in eastern DRC, is 2nd deadliest on record. Although it has largely been contained to remote areas, but recently in July second week a patient was diagnosed with virus in provincial capital Goma, which became 1st case in a major urban hub. This confirmed case in Goma escalated the crisis because the city is a gateway to Africa’s Great Lakes region and wider world.

Previous Declaration: This emergency provision, activated by UN health agency have been previously invoked only four times-

  1. 2009- H1N1, or swine flu pandemic
  2. 2014- Spread of poliovirus
  3. 2014-2016- Ebola epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa. It killed more than 11,000 people.
  4. 2016- Surge of Zika virus

This is new declaration is 5th such declaration in history.

About Ebola Virus

It is highly contagious. It has an average fatality rate of around 50%.

Transmission: It is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads among people via close contact with blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.

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