Project HOPE Alarmed By Ebola Outbreak In Guinea And DRC, Fears Spread To Other Countries
As two African countries – Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - have reported the resurgence of Ebola cases and the death of at least five individuals, Project HOPE is highly concerned that the disease will spread further across the region.
NEW YORK, NY (15 February 2021) – As two African countries—Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—have reported the resurgence of Ebola cases and the death of at least five individuals, Project HOPE is highly concerned that the disease will spread further across the region. Health care workers and infrastructure are at risk of not being able to respond adequately and swiftly to an Ebola epidemic while simultaneously responding to the medical needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statement by Rabih Torbay, President & CEO of Project HOPE:
“The resurgence of Ebola cases and deaths in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely alarming as the disease spreads rapidly and could affect neighboring countries. We must avoid a repeat of the 2014-2016 epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people.
Time is of the essence when responding to an Ebola outbreak. Lessons learned from past outbreaks will be critical to avoid a public health disaster. Countries must act quickly with contact tracing, isolation, and ensuring that affected communities are vaccinated. Communication and building trust with local communities will be imperative to avoid the spread of misinformation and prevent violent reactions as witnessed in recent outbreaks in the region.
In recent years, Guinea and the DRC have invested in preparedness and developed local health care capacities to respond to epidemics. Yet, as both countries also battle the COVID-19 pandemic, their health care systems and workforce are likely to come under increased strain. International support and multilateral cooperation will be required to stop the spread of the deadly disease and support frontline responders with the resources and equipment they need as rapidly as possible. The delivery of vaccines should be also sped up to ensure affected countries have sufficient stocks.
While both Guinea and the DRC are among the world’s poorest countries, cycles of violence in the DRC make it difficult and unsafe for frontline responders to access hard-to-reach areas. It is essential to ensure the safety and protection of frontline responders in order to access all affected communities.
Project HOPE is monitoring the situation and stands ready to support the health care workers in affected countries in their response to the Ebola epidemic.”
In 2014-2016, Project HOPE responded to the Ebola epidemics in Sierra Leone and sent a team of medical and disaster relief experts to work with key health and emergency response officials and support health facilities, logistics and health messaging.
About Project HOPE
Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian relief organization that is committed to placing power in the hands of local health care workers to save lives across the globe. Read more here.