SADC member states join forces to help DR Congo fight Ebola: official

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-13 00:11:01|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

DAR ES SALAAM, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have joined forces to help the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fight the outbreak of the Ebola virus, a senior official from the bloc said on Monday.

Jorge Cardoso, director of Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Affairs of the SADC Secretariat, said health ministers from the regional grouping's 16 member states met recently to discuss how best to help the DRC fight the deadly virus.

"The fight against Ebola is on the agenda of the SADC security portfolio," Cardoso told a media briefing in the business capital, Dar es Salaam, ahead of the 39th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, scheduled for Aug. 17-18.

He said the SADC health ministers have recommended interventions of helping the DRC in the fight against Ebola.

The recommendations will compliment efforts being taken by other international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), Cardoso said.

The WHO has more than 600 staff on the ground supporting the DRC government-led response together with national and international partners.

"An outbreak of a disease does not respect borders," Cardoso said, adding that the SADC is also taking measures aimed at making sure that the virus does not spread to other countries.

The DRC is grappling with the world's second largest Ebola epidemic on record, with more than 1,800 lives lost and over 2,600 confirmed infections since the outbreak was declared on Aug. 1, 2018, according to the central African nation's ministry of health.

In June this year, Tanzanian Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu warned that Tanzania was at high risk of an outbreak of Ebola after the virus killed at least two people in neighboring Uganda.

"Tanzania is at high risk of the Ebola virus outbreak and we are doing all we can to respond to the outbreak," said Mwalimu.

Ebola spreads among humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.

The current outbreak in the DRC is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead.