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DR Congo Commences 42-Day Countdown to End Ebola


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), says Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has started 42 days countdown to end Ebola in the country.

Ghebreyesus who stated this in a statement posted on WHO website, said there was continued hope to end the virus.

“The last person who was being treated for Ebola in the DRC recovered and was discharged on May 14.

“On that day, the DRC Ministry of Health announced the beginning of the 42-day countdown to the end of the outbreak.

“We now have 36 days to go but new cases could still emerge, as we have seen before.

“The pandemic has taught and informed many lessons: Health is not a cost; it’s an investment.

“To live in a secure world, guaranteeing quality health for all is not just the right choice; it’s the smart choice,” he said.

The director general, however, thanked the member state representatives and ministers for joining the World Health Assembly and signing up to a historic consensus resolution on COVID-19 and the way ahead.

The two-day Virtual World Health Assembly held in Geneva ended on Tuesday on consensus resolution on COVID-19 and the way ahead.

“The resolution sets out a clear roadmap of the critical activities and actions that must be taken to sustain and accelerate the response at the national and international levels.

“It assigns responsibilities for both the WHO and its member states and captures the comprehensive whole of government and whole of society approach we have been calling for since the beginning of the outbreak.

“If implemented, this would ensure a more coherent, coordinated and fairer response that saves both lives and livelihoods.

“The landmark resolution underlines WHO’s key role in promoting access to safe, effective health technologies to fight the pandemic,” he said.

At the assembly, Ghebreyesus said he welcomed member states’ commitment to lift all barriers to universal access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

“This includes four critical points from the resolution:

“First: that there is a global priority to ensure the fair distribution of all quality essential health technologies required to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Second: that relevant international treaties should be harnessed where needed, including the provisions of the TRIPS agreement.

“Third: that COVID-19 vaccines should be classified as a global public good for health in order to bring the pandemic to an end.

“And fourth: that collaboration to promote both private sector and government-funded research and development should be encouraged. This includes open innovation across all relevant domains and the sharing of all relevant information with WHO,” he said.

According to him, an important collaborative response to this resolution would be the COVID-19 technology platform proposed by Costa Rica.

“It will be launched on the 29th of May, which aims to lift access barriers to effective vaccines, medicines and other health products. We call on all countries to join this initiative.

“I’m glad we are making progress on the research and development agenda, which was mapped out in February at the research and development meeting convened by WHO.

“That roadmap has now given rise to the solidarity trials, which now include 3,000 patients in 320 hospitals across 17 countries and to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator,” he said.

In addition, the director general said the world still had a long way to go in this pandemic.

“In the last 24 hours, there have been 106,000 cases reported to WHO – the most in a single day since the outbreak began. Almost two thirds of these cases were reported in just four countries.

“But, in good news, it has been particularly impressive to see how countries like the Republic of Korea have built on their experience of MERS.

“The country is building on the experience of MERS to quickly implement a comprehensive strategy to find, isolate, test and care for every case, and trace every contact,’’ he said. /(NAN)

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