UK funds to help Congo tackle Ebola outbreak

29 May 18

The UK has pledged an extra £5m to tackle the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

International development secretary Penny Mordaunt said last week the fresh support would help the central African country strengthen its health systems to treat and manage the growing number of Ebola cases.

This will be done through the World Health Organisation over the next three months.

“The UK has acted swiftly to scale up the response to this outbreak of Ebola, a horrific disease which we know has the potential to cause devastating loss of life,” Mordaunt said.

“Our support is vital in helping to contain Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and stop it spreading to other countries – and ultimately the UK.”

She added that the WHO would monitor the spread of the disease, identify and diagnose cases and trace people at risk of infection, as well as offer vaccinations and treatment.

The DRC government declared the Ebola outbreak on 8 May after two cases were confirmed.

The government has said there are about 56 cases of haemorrhagic fever, a primary symptom, with 35 confirmed cases of Ebola.

This is the third outbreak in the DRC, which is home to nearly 79 million people, in the past five years and the ninth since 1976.

The new UK funding comes on top of £1m that DfID made available through its joint research initiative on epidemic preparedness with Wellcome, a global foundation which support scientists and researchers.

Wellcome has made a further £2m available. The UK Department for Health and Social Care also provided £4m to the WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies in March 2018.

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