WHO appeals for $40m for DRC Ebola fight as coffers run dry
Cape Town - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has appealed for an additional USD40 million so that it can continue fighting the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The organisation's Ebola operation in eastern DRC’s conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces was on financial life-support, the WHO said on Tuesday, adding that coffers would run dry at the end of February.
“To maintain operations and prevent re-emergence of the outbreak, WHO is requesting funding. Under the Strategic Response Plan, WHO’s financial need for the Ebola response from January to June 2020 is $83 million," said the organisation via a statement.
Thanks to the generosity of many donors during 2019, it had some carry-over funding that was used to maintain operations through February 2020.
"$40 million is currently needed to ensure continuity of response and preparedness activities to bring the case incidence to zero, and to continue building strong, resilient health systems,” according to the statement.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said failure to support the operation would be "tragic" as good progress had been made in containing the virus.
Over the past two months, he said, between three and 15 cases of Ebola were reported each week. In April 2019, 120 cases were reported in the area, he said.
The organisation said that in the past 21 days, eight confirmed cases were reported from four health areas within two active zones in North Kivu Province, Beni and Mabalako. It had been more than 42 days since Butembo and Mambasa health zones reported new cases.
The continued reduction of cases of geographic spread and the declining trend in case incidence observed in the past 21 days was encouraging, said the organisation.
It reported 3 433 cases of the virus, including 2 253 deaths, for an overall case fatality rate of 66%.
Jasarevic said money from the $40 million appeal would also be used for preparedness activities in neighbouring countries.
African News Agency (ANA)