Amid a disastrous Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) urges the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and DRC government to cast politics aside and take immediate actions to ensure the most aggressive response possible in defeating the epidemic, including declaring an international emergency and utilizing all available vaccines.
As Ebola spreads to Uganda, WHO continues to delay declaring an international emergency in the face of a devastating crisis—the WHO, UN, AU and DRC must do more to end the current outbreak!
There is a dire situation on the ground in the DRC—and now in Uganda. Public distrust of outside personnel and support is hindering the identification and vaccination of Ebola contacts, available vaccine stockpiles are steadily dwindling and not being used as they should, and the WHO, UN, AU and DRC actions have so far have proven to be insufficient in containing and extinguishing the current crisis.
“This outbreak threatens the entire continent and the world—WHO must declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “That will allow increased funding, personnel and resources to be dedicated to a response that is severely lacking thus far. Inspired and aggressive leadership is also needed at top levels of the agencies and governments conducting response efforts—we cannot expect a different result if the same inadequate measures are continually implemented.”
With over 2,000 cases and nearly 1,400 deaths since last August, the current Ebola outbreak is killing at a horrifying rate of almost 70%. And even though individuals in the affected areas are pleading to be vaccinated, stockpiles of one vaccine are running dangerously low and confidential sources report that the other is not being used at all due to disputes within the DRC government.
“There is nothing more critical in this response than the availability of vaccines that have been proven to work, and it’s incomprehensible that they are available and not being utilized—especially now that Ebola has crossed into Uganda,” said AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung. “The WHO and the African Union must take the lead and insist that all available vaccines be used, and the Congolese government must forget its political in-fighting and ensure that stockpiles are available immediately to all who need them.”
“We [AHF] lost one of our own doctors in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak in 2014 that killed over 11,000 people—and now our staff and patients in Uganda are being threatened,” added Dr. Iutung. “It is critical, now more than ever, that the WHO, UN, AU and DRC do all they can to stop this outbreak in its tracks. Take more action now – before it’s too late!”
AHF encourages you to experience the sobering truth behind the 2014 Ebola outbreak in this short documentary and see the devastation that occurs when outbreak preparedness is not a top global health priority.
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.1 million people in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org.