AU to pool African resources to support Ebola response in DRC

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-27 00:56:54|Editor: ZX
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ADDIS ABABA, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Friday revealed that it will convene a fundraising forum of African private sector and donors to support the ongoing response against the Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The AU, which reiterated its grave concern over the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, announced on Friday that it will convene a high-level forum under the theme "Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust Fund" during the first week of September 2019, in a bid to mobilize resources for the continental Ebola response efforts.

According to figures from the 55-member pan African bloc, some 2,532 Ebola virus cases were reported as of July 18, in which 2,438 confirmed and 94 probable, with 1,705 deaths and 718 cured, in an outbreak that is the second largest in the history of Ebola since it was discovered in 1976.

The continental fundraising event, which will be chaired by Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, is expected to bring together representatives of the private sector across the African continent as well as international partners and donors, the AU said in a statement issued Friday.

The decision to convene a resource mobilization forum was made due to the "seriousness of health, economic and security threat that the ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak emergency poses to the continent," according to the AU.

"The aim of this forum is to mobilize adequate resources to respond to the ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in the DRC, which was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a public health emergency of international concern on July 17th, 2019," the statement read.

The AU had previously convened a continental fundraising forum back in 2014 for a similar cause when the Ebola virus disease outbreak battered West African countries.

The West African Ebola epidemic, which is regarded as the largest in history, started with cases of Ebola virus in the forested rural region of southeastern Guinea, as reported by the WHO in March 2014. Cases of Ebola were soon after reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone, which border Guinea.

According to the AU, the 2014 resource mobilization forum that brought together African private sector as well as international partners "was instrumental in bringing to an end the Ebola virus disease in West Africa."

"This showed the importance of strong African solidarity during times of crisis in the continent," the AU said on Friday.

The AU has been implementing various response measures through its specialized agency the Africa Centers for Disease, Prevention and Control (Africa CDC) to support the central African country in the fight against the epidemic, mainly through the deployment of health volunteers and financial contribution.

Meanwhile, the AU's AU Peace and Security Council also reiterated its grave concern over the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, describing the outbreak as "a serious threat to peace and security in the country, the region and the African continent as a whole."