Fight against Ebola continues in DRC

CNC
Added On June 10, 2018

The World Health Organization continues to fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
The WHO says it is "cautiously optimistic" but there is still tough work to do.
 
According to Peter Salama, the WHO's Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response, there is more tough work to do in the coming weeks.
 
SOUNDBITE (English) PETER SALAMA, WHO official
"This is a major logistical and boots on the ground epidemiological effort now to trace every one of these cases and contacts. And this tough work is going to go on for the next few weeks especially given that we had a case as recently as yesterday confirmed. So that is where we are with the outbreak. So we are cautiously optimistic but there is a lot of very tough work to do in phase two before we can say that we are on the top of this outbreak. And we have learned the hard way in the past, never to underestimate Ebola."
 
He noted that different environments present their own challenges in fighting Ebola.
 
SOUNDBITE (English)PETER SALAMA, WHO official
"Now we are into phase two. And this is really what we really need to do for the next few weeks in terms of focus. The focus of the response now has to turn to this rural, isolated, communities in Iboko and Itipo."(DELETE There are all under Iboko health zone. The challenge is quite different there. We are talking about some of the most remote territories on earth. We are talking about forested areas, we are talking about populations that are more than 50 percent indigenous populations and are already marginalized populations who have to be reached with community mobilizers and community engagement strategies and social mobilization.)
  
However, Salama explained that there is still cause for optimism.
 
SOUNDBITE (English): PETER SALAMA, WHO official
"We have added cause for optimism because now we have reached for the majority of the contacts, more than 98 percent of the contacts with the vaccination. And because of the vaccination for the majority of them occurred 10 days ago, we believe that the majority of those contacts in the ring vaccination are now protected against Ebola. (DELETE so that gives us a lot of source of optimism along with the fact that we haven't seen cases since mid-May in those two locations. So phase one: protect urban centers and towns has gone well, and we can be cautiously optimistic.)"
 
According to the WHO,  an ethics committee in the DRC approved the use of five investigational therapeutics to treat Ebola, under the framework of compassionate use.
 
This is the first time such treatments are available during an Ebola outbreak.
 
Clinicians working in the treatment centres will make decisions on which drug is helpful for each patient and appropriate for the setting.
 
The treatments require informed consent  from patients and must follow protocols, with close monitoring and reporting of any adverse events.
 
Four of the five approved drugs are currently in the country.