DRC Health Minister Resigns After Country’s New President Appoints Task Force To Manage Response; WHO Estimates Ebola Funding Needs To Triple Over Next 6 Months

Associated Press: Congo’s health minister quits over Ebola response changes
“Congo’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga resigned from his post Monday to protest the president’s decision to take over management of the response to the Ebola outbreak. ‘Following the president’s decision to manage the Ebola epidemic at his level, I handed in my resignation as Minister for Health,’ Ilunga wrote in a tweet…” (Mwanamilongo, 7/22).

Bloomberg: Ebola Funding Need to Triple as International Risk Escalates
“The Ebola emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo will require about three times more money than currently provided, the United Nations agency leading the public health response said. The World Health Organization estimates $324 million is needed to fund its response and preparedness in the Africa region over the next six months. Additional funds will be required to support other functions outside the WHO’s remit to help stop transmission of the deadly hemorrhagic virus, the Geneva-based agency said in an email Tuesday…” (Gale, 7/23).

Devex: DRC health minister quits as new president takes over Ebola response
“…Ilunga made public Monday his two-page resignation letter addressed to President Félix Tshisekedi. In the letter, Ilunga raised issues with the president’s decision to hand over the responsibility of leading the Ebola response to a multisectoral team that directly reports to the president, a move made while Ilunga was away supervising the response in Goma…” (Jerving/Ravelo, 7/22).

Science: DRC health minister resigns over Ebola response
“…Tshisekedi’s administration announced on Saturday that direct supervision of the Ebola response was being placed with a team of experts under the direction of Jean Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, director general of the DRC’s National Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) and a microbiologist at the University of Kinshasa’s medical school. Tamfum has studied Ebola and responded to outbreaks for more than 40 years…” (Wadman, 7/22).

VOA News: DRC Health Minister Resigns After Being Dismissed as Head of Ebola Response
“…[In his resignation letter, Ilunga] said another flashpoint was outside pressure to introduce a new experimental vaccine. The country has deployed hundreds of thousands of doses of a vaccine by Merck, a German pharmaceutical company. The World Health Organization (WHO) and others have encouraged the DRC to use another vaccine by Johnson & Johnson, an American company. … It’s unclear if the new task force will change the DRC’s position on the second vaccine…” (7/22).

Additional coverage of the health minister’s resignation is available from Al Jazeera, BBC News, Bloomberg, CIDRAP News, Financial Times, and Reuters.

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