World Health Organization sends first doses of experimental vaccine to tackle Congo Ebola outbreak

Henrietta Brewer
May 16, 2018

The Senate has resolved to intervene in the current crisis between the Federal Government and workers in the health sector, warning that the ongoing industrial action by health personnel will worsen if Nigeria should experience an Ebola outbreak. It also urged the Minister of Interior, Lt. -Gen.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday said it has been authorised to use an experimental vaccine to combat an outbreak of Ebola in the DRC, where at least 19 people have been killed by the virus.

Cellou Binani  AFP  Getty Images
Cellou Binani AFP Getty Images

"Such aloofness by the government is directly responsible for the escalation of killings and bloodletting in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Kogi, Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Kaduna states and others parts of the country, where marauders and insurgents are pillaging our citizens as if overlooking the plight of Nigerians has become a state policy".

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in DRC since 1976. It involves vaccinating voluntary contacts, contacts of those contacts and health care and other front-line workers. The disease killed eight people in the country a year ago. With varying symptoms ranging from fever to diarrhoea, there were a total of 869 contacts and 20 laboratory confirmed cases were recorded.

Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus in a Twitter post said the agreement was made in a phone call with Congo's health minister on Thursday. The Senate is further reminded that the DRC is 435 kilometres by air from Abuja and is easily accessible via a flight from Lagos that takes less than three hours.

In response to the new outbreak of Ebola, the Africa CDC has activated its emergency operation center (EOC) to support the DRC national outbreak response efforts, and the Center has also mobilized its epidemic response team (ERT) for imminent deployment. "The Senate is further anxious that if we do nothing, given our population, we may well be on our way to creating a global situation".

According to the World Health Organisation April 4 through May 13, has witnessed 39 Ebola virus disease cases in DRC, including 19 deaths.

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