Ebola in DR Congo: Africa Should Watch Out

Published on 16th May 2018

Since the declaration of the news about the Ebola outbreak in the Equateur province of the  Democratic Republic Congo, additional suspected cases continue to be either reviewed, reclassified or discarded. So far a total of 39 Ebola virus disease cases have been reported, including 19 deaths. The previous outbreak of the disease in West Africa recorded more fatalities than any previous outbreaks--since it was first reported in two simultaneous outbreaks in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan and in Yambuku, Zaire--(now Democratic Republic of Congo).

The outbreak is a concern considering sub-Saharan Africa’s lack of coherent strategic response and crisis of confidence on the institutional capabilities, capacities, effectiveness and expertise intrinsic to healthcare systems in the continent. Africa has a mere 3% of the global health workforce but accounts for 24% of the global burden of disease. This disconnect is most disturbing and requires urgent attention by its leadership and policy makers.

Whereas WHO considers the public health risk of Ebola to be high at the national level, moderate at the regional level, and low at the international level, this should not send other African nations to complacency. Ebola is mobile, deadly and destructive.  

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