One Big Thing: What can the world learn from Congo’s experience defeating and combatting Ebola?
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What is it?
- On Thursday, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced that it had defeated the 10th outbreak of Ebola, almost two years after its initial discovery in the Central African country. During that time, an estimated 3,463 people were infected with the disease killing 2,280 of them.
- DRC’s fight against Ebola represents the second worst Ebola pandemic ever. DRC’s fight against Ebola represents the second worst Ebola pandemic ever and it is not fully over as a new strain of the virus has been found in the Mbandaka province. This has also been compounded by coronavirus as the DRC has been forced to fight both at the same time.
- This has also been compounded by coronavirus as the DRC has been forced to fight both at the same time.
Why is it important?
- There was a strong international response to combatting the virus. More than 300,000 people were vaccinated and this was the first fully licensed vaccine to fight Ebola, which ultimately led to its containment.
- Despite the large scale international response, it was hindered by DRC’s weak healthcare system and violence from armed militias. Despite the ongoing systemic issues, this goes to show (to the extreme) how underlying institutional issues can hinder emergency public health responses.
- Distrust of the government also hindered the medical response, brought on by everyday corruption and a lack of accountability. If a government cannot be upfront and transparent on all issues with its citizens, it will lose the public trust and be ineffective when it matters most.
- The DRC’s fight against both Ebola advised for social distancing and used contact tracing, showing that these methods are effective in combatting a highly transmittable pandemic disease.
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