Published: Thu, June 20, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

World Health Organization panel decides not to declare worldwide Ebola emergency

World Health Organization panel decides not to declare worldwide Ebola emergency

Ugandan Health Minister Jane Aceng told the AP on Saturday that district officials in Kasese were to blame for limited medical supplies after delaying in submitting their budget.

While the IHR committee agreed the cases in the Kasese district of Uganda shifted the almost year-long outbreak into an worldwide realm, they were not evidence that the Ebola outbreak had met the criteria for the declaration.

That sibling, along with four others who are suspected to have contracted Ebola (the dead boy's mother and father, a 6-month-old sibling, and the family's maid), have been sent back to the Congo side of the border. She further said: "We should do whatever that is possible to put a pause to this outbreak and make preventions of other deaths".

The head of the United Nations health agency Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is in DRC reviewing the Ebola response, said he accepted the committee's advice.

The World Health Organization on Friday said the Ebola outbreak is an "extraordinary event" of deep concern but does not yet merit being declared a global emergency. With almost 50 cases in 3 days, the outbreak is experiencing another spike in activity following the discovery of cases in neighboring Uganda last week. That is "a double-edged sword", says Daniel Bausch, director of the United Kingdom public health rapid support team and an expert on the Ebola virus. WHO has been able to mobilize US Dollars 18.4million, train health workers in the high-risk districts, beef up logistics, erect isolation facilities and most importantly convene the Ebola Accountability Forum, that has enabled all partners to share their work. Widespread violence between various armed actors⁠-including the national army⁠-, as well as direct attacks on health facilities, in tandem with a general scepticism of government and foreign health workers, has severely hindered efforts to contain the disease in the DRC.

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Those who died had crossed over form the Democratic Republic of Congo, where almost 1,400 people have died from Ebola.

In a statement, the panel of 13 independent medical experts on the WHO's Emergency Committee urged neighbouring "at risk" countries to improve their preparedness for detecting and managing imported cases, "as Uganda has done".

The Musienene health worker died in the community, officials said.

Health CS Kariuki has assured Kenyans that the her ministry is taking all necessary precautions at border points to prevent entry of infected persons.

Worldwide spread of a disease is one of the major criteria WHO considers before declaring a situation to be a global health emergency. Zaire Ebola was also the virus found in the outbreak in Equateur province, in western DRC earlier in 2018, although a different strain than is affecting the current outbreak.

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