U.S. Taxpayers Sending More Scarce Health Dollars to Africa

CDC hopes to send more money, more experts to Congo as Ebola outbreak rages

| Meanwhile, elderly Americans are being kicked out of underfunded nursing homes 

By Lena H. Sun

Mar 14, 2019

Washington Post – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hopes to send experts to Congo in the next few weeks to train international and local personnel in the fight against a raging Ebola outbreak that has killed nearly 600 people and is far from under control, the CDC director said Thursday in an interview.

Because of the worsening security situation, the CDC experts would not be based in the epicenter of the outbreak, in conflict-ridden parts of eastern Congo.

Armed attacks against Ebola treatment centers in North Kivu province have increased in recent weeks.

One attack took place hours before CDC Director Robert Redfield and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus arrived last week as part of a WHO delegation to assess the situation on the ground.

Another attack took place Thursday when an Ebola clinic was burned down by people who then set fire to the home of a local official, according to news reports.

Three CDC personnel are on temporary assignment about 200 miles south of the epicenter, in the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu, Redfield said. If U.S. security personnel give their approval, “we’re hoping to augment that team significantly to increase that training,” Redfield said in an interview.

Government sources said the CDC hopes to send as many as 10 people for the temporary training assignments.

“This is a complicated response,” Redfield said. The outbreak, now entering its eighth month, “is not under control” and is likely to last through this year and into 2020, he said.

“This late in the outbreak, and half of the cases are presenting dead,” he said, an indicator that an unusually high number of infected people are not being identified when they fall ill.

When sick people don’t go for help to clinics and treatment centers, “that’s a disastrous indicator for an Ebola response,” Redfield said. “This tells you that the community is not helping us. We need the community to become a key component of the public health Ebola response.” Read more. 

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