Congo preparing for new potential Ebola outbreak
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has prepared its health services for possible 10th Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, the DRC Ministry of Public Health said in a press release on Saturday.
"Since the Ebola virus has a natural reservoir located in the equatorial forest, the country must expect to face a tenth epidemic and prepare for it. Thus, all the activities supported by the Government in the context of this epidemic follow this logic. This includes the establishment of an emergency operations center in Mbandaka and the expansion and strengthening of the Kinshasa emergency operations center," the press release stated.
The DRC also aims to increase healthcare access in the country, as well as to reach universal health coverage for the country's citizens, according to the statement.
"In addition, free healthcare, which is now effective in seven health zones, is part of the Government's vision to achieve universal health coverage in the DRC. According to the Minister of Health, if the DRC manages to make universal health coverage a reality for millions of Congolese in a context as difficult as that of an Ebola epidemic, it means that the country has the means to extend it all over the country," the press release said.
The ministry added that current efforts against the EVD outbreak were focused in the health zone of Itipo. As of Friday, a total of 59 cases of haemorrhagic fever were reported in the DRC, including 38 confirmed, 14 probable and 7 suspected cases, according to the ministry.
The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from animals and is estimated by the World Health Organization to have a 50-percent fatality rate.