WHO Welcomes New Funding For DRC Ebola Outbreak, Calls For More U.S. Assistance; Details Of Government’s New Strategy To Contain Virus Emerge

Agence France-Presse: WHO hails new DRC aid in fight against Ebola
“The head of the WHO on Saturday said a shortage in funding to halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo was finally being filled. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said that several countries had renewed pledges of financial aid after the Ebola outbreak was declared an international emergency earlier this month…” (7/27).

Financial Times: Ebola outbreak fails to trigger World Bank pandemic bonds
“Bonds issued by the World Bank with the aim of helping developing countries deal with pandemics are facing fresh scrutiny as investors continue to enjoy high returns while the Ebola outbreak worsens in central Africa. … On Wednesday, the World Bank said it would give $300m in grants and loans to DRC to step up its aid response. But funding connected to the World Bank’s pandemic bonds, issued in 2017, has been less forthcoming…” (Asgari, 7/26).

New York Times: In Congo, a New Plan to Fight Ebola Follows a Government Power Struggle
“Faced with a lethal Ebola outbreak threatening eastern Africa, public health officials are conceding that their battle plan is failing and have proposed a comprehensive new strategy for containing the virus. It envisions reframing the epidemic as a regional humanitarian crisis, not simply a health emergency. That may include more troops or police to quell the murders and arson that have made medical work difficult, as well as food aid to win over skeptical locals. The Democratic Republic of Congo also plans to deploy a second vaccine to form a protective ‘curtain’ of immunity around outbreak areas. … The health ministry’s strategic plan for the period from July to December, written in cooperation with the WHO, has not been officially released but is circulating among the donors and health agencies, and a copy was obtained by The Times. While it envisions a much broader response, the plan is vague on specifics — omitting even references to which vaccines should be used…” (McNeil/Grady, 7/26).

Reuters: WHO says it could use more U.S. help on the ground in Ebola fight
“The United States could bolster the battle against the Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo by allowing more of its experts to travel to the outbreak zone, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Friday. … ‘It is hard to fight a battle without your best ally at your side,’ WHO’s emergencies chief Mike Ryan told reporters, when asked about CDC’s deployment. ‘But our colleagues in CDC have provided amazing support, both in Congo, in the surrounding countries, here in Geneva, in our operation centers in backstopping and providing high-level technical assistance to the response,’ Ryan said…” (Miles, 7/26).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from AFP TV, Agence France-Presse, BBC News, Health Policy Watch (2), The Observer, VOA News (2), and Xinhua News (2).