The UN has given a directive to a point man to coordinate the global response to the deadly Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as it ramps up efforts to contain the outbreak.
According to a statement by the World Health Organization, David Gressly, who is currently the UN’s deputy special representative in DRC, will take charge of the anti-Ebola effort.
The Guardian reports that the outbreak, declared in eastern DRC last August, has killed more than 1,200 people in two provinces; Ituri and North Kivu — and new cases have surged in recent weeks.
Containing the virus has proved especially proved challenging because of militia violence in the region.
Naija News recalls that just last month, the Congolese Army troop succeeded in killing 36 Burundian rebel, while it lost three of its men in the war against terrorists
“We have no time to lose,” Gressly said in the statement, adding that the epidemic required “an enhanced, UN-wide response.”
WHO has also accused political leaders in the affected region of manipulating the Ebola issue to turn people against health workers.
The response has been helped by the use of a new vaccine, given to an estimated 120,000 people.
But the UN remains concerned that the virus could still spread beyond eastern DRC into neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda.
The outbreak is the second deadliest on record, after an epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa between 2014 and 2016.