Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations (2005). The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) applauds this decision, and will continue to scale up life-saving support to bring this outbreak to an end. This decision reinforces our call to strengthen the response to Ebola through improved leadership and coordination, enhanced community engagement, improved preparedness, and expanded vaccination in communities.
Earlier this week, a case of Ebola was confirmed in Goma, a city in Eastern DRC, of more than one million people near the border with Rwanda. This follows another case in the DRC near the border with South Sudan, as well as three confirmed cases first detected in Uganda last month.
Working alongside the Government of the DRC, the WHO, and Congolese and other international partners, USAID and Embassy Kinshasa have been responding to Ebola in the DRC since the beginning of this outbreak, including through the deployment of a Disaster Assistance Response Team to the region in September 2018 to coordinate the U.S. response on the ground. The U.S. Government will continue to support the response to Ebola, including through the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, emergency health care, community engagement, risk-communication activities, the promotion of safe and dignified burials, and the provision of other technical assistance.
Due to the risk of Ebola spreading across the DRC's borders, the U.S. Government is pushing for more vaccinations in high-risk areas surrounding the communities affected. More than 163,500 people have been vaccinated against Ebola since the beginning of this outbreak, and it is critical that we continue to scale up to prevent the disease from spreading further.
USAID has provided more than $98 million to the Ebola response in the DRC since the outbreak began in August 2018. As the single largest donor to this response, the United States encourages other donors to help bring this outbreak to an end as soon as possible. As donors, international organizations, and NGOs continue to step up, we urge greater financial accountability and full-data sharing to provide clarity on what is being done, and what it will take, to end this outbreak.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).