In eastern DR Congo, influx of Ebola money is source of friction


At a United Nations meeting on Ebola in Geneva on Tuesday, Congo's health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga, said the outbreak was "not a humanitarian crisis" and that the risk of Ebola spreading to other cities or regions in Congo remained the same.

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been declared a "Public health emergency of global concern", a rare designation only used for the gravest of epidemics.

Earlier this week, Ugandan health officials said a Congolese fish trader had traveled to Uganda while sick and vomited several times at a local market.

A PHEIC is defined as, "an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the worldwide spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated global response".

Rwanda's health minister, Diane Gashumba, said her country is taking precautionary measures after the pastor contracted Ebola and was diagnosed in Goma, eastern Congo's main city, near the bustling border with Rwanda.

The first Ebola cases appeared in neighbouring Uganda last month. - The training exercises have been implemented while the threat of Ebola reaching the country remains high with around 460 people having been killed by the virus across the border in DRC.

The emergency committee of worldwide health experts that advises the WHO had three times declined to declare an emergency - a rare designation aimed galvanizing global support.

Since it was declared nearly a year ago the outbreak has been classified as a level 3 emergency - the most serious - by World Health Organization, triggering the highest level of mobilization from WHO.

"Together with the government, we can and will end this outbreak".

More news: Libra Hearing: 'Toddler With Matches and the Game of Trust'
More news: British PM contenders slam Trump tweets, but won't call them racist
More news: Aria Hill: Tribute to 6-Year-Old Girl Killed By Golf Ball

Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at Britain's University of Nottingham, said the latest cases showed current efforts were not effective enough to halt the epidemic, which "is showing no signs of letting up".

The Congo outbreak of Ebola is now the second largest ever recorded, with the largest being the West African epidemic of 2014-2016.

The Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 when 2 simultaneous outbreaks occurred, one in Yambuku, a village not far from the Ebola River in the DRC and the other in a remote area of Sudan.

The WHO chief said Wednesday that there has been violence in the region for years.

Health workers so far knew of 12 people at high risk of catching Ebola from her.

"At the heart of this are communities and individual tragedies", said Dr Tedros.

Congo's health ministry said it accepted the WHO committee's decision but hoped it was not due to pressure from humanitarian groups looking to raise funds "despite the potential negative and unpredictable consequences for the communities affected, who rely very much on cross-border trade to survive". An emergency might bring economic and travel restrictions on DRC.

One of the biggest challenges with this outbreak is that even as health workers fight to contain the virus, they are facing attacks.