GENEVA / DRC EBOLA UPDATE

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28-Jun-2019 00:01:49
The vital work of tracing people potentially infected with deadly Ebola virus in north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is continuing, despite ongoing “violent threats” against frontline medical workers and communities, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / DRC EBOLA UPDATE
TRT: 1:49
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH

DATELINE: 28 JUNE 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations.
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ibrahima Soce Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Since the beginning of the outbreak, we have recorded 2,284 cases and 1,540 people died from the disease but at the same time we had 637 people who survived the disease, and I think this is important.”
3. Close up, UN Radio microphone, podium
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ibrahima Soce Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We have a new hotspot in the rural area of Mabalako and Mandima. The outbreak started there last year and spread to other regions so it’s important to break the vicious cycle, to contain very quickly the situation in Mabalako and Mandima where we have more than 55 per cent of the cases coming from.”
5. Med shot, onlooker taking photograph with mobile phone.
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ibrahima Soce Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Right now, we are only seeing sporadic cases in Butembo and Katwa, but the risk is still important, because as you know, with Ebola, you only need one case to start spreading or one high-risk contact not followed, transfers the disease.”
7. Wide shot, press room, podium.
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ibrahima Soce Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Over 68 million people have been screened at the border to make sure that they are not moving with the disease and we have identified so far 19 cases at the border level that were detected since the beginning of the outbreak; 19.”
9. Wide shot, journalists.
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ibrahima Soce Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We need to continue investing, you know, in preparedness, because the risk is still there, and since the beginning of the year we didn’t get any financing for preparedness in neighbouring countries. It’s really important to continue to invest in preparedness.”
11. Close up, journalists.
12. Med shot, journalists.
13. Med shot, journalists.
14. Med shot, journalists.

STORYLINE:

The vital work of tracing people potentially infected with deadly Ebola virus in north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is continuing, despite ongoing “violent threats” against frontline medical workers and communities, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Since the latest outbreak began last August, the WHO has recorded 2,284 cases of infection and 1,540 victims.

“At the same time, we had 637 people who survived the disease, and I think this is important,” said Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, WHO Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, noting that around 90 people are currently receiving treatment for Ebola virus disease infection, while new cases have dropped from 106 two weeks ago, to 79 last week.

Briefing journalists in Geneva after returning from DRC to oversee the scaling-up of UN-led operations in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Dr. Fall explained that major urban centres of Butembo and Katwa were now seeing only “sporadic” cases of infection, thanks to coverage in all 33 health areas.

In Beni, a large town in North Kivu, however, contact tracing and other preventative work was slowed earlier this week, after attacks from taxi drivers who were upset about the death of a colleague, who came late to a treatment centre.
One car was burned, and two Ministry of health staff were injured, according to WHO, which noted that Ebola has claimed nine lives there since Monday. Remote areas have also proved difficult to access, owing to the “very volatile” security situation which has caused mass displacement and rights abuses, along with community mistrust.

“We have a new hotspot in the rural area of Mabalako and Mandima,” Dr. Fall said. “The outbreak started there last year and spread to other regions, so it’s important to break the vicious cycle, to contain very quickly the situation in Mabalako and Mandima, where we have more than 55 per cent of the cases coming from.”

For the first time in this outbreak, Ebola has also reached small forest-based villages such as Alima, where access is more challenging, thanks to the presence of armed groups from DRC and neighbouring Uganda.

More than 1,200 people with potential links to the deceased have been vaccinated in Uganda, he continued, noting that some 5,000 frontline healthworkers had already received the jab before the disease was declared in the country on 11 June.

This is in addition to the 150,000 people vaccinated against Ebola in DRC.

“Over 68 million people have been screened at the border to make sure that they are not moving with the disease,” Dr. Fall said. “And we have identified so far 19 cases at the border level that were detected since the beginning of the outbreak; 19.”
Despite this high level of preparedness at the border, Dr. Fall insisted that there were many more unofficial border crossings, which meant that the risk of Ebola transmission remained high among DRC’s regional neighbours, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

Faced with this threat, he called for sustained international support for the campaign against Ebola. WHO’s current funding needs are $98 million in DRC, of which $43.6 million has been received. The budget to prevent transmission in Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda is almost $70 million for the last 12 months, a 40 per cent funding gap remains.

“We need to continue investing…in preparedness, because the risk is still there,” Dr. Fall said. “Since the beginning of the year we didn’t get any financing for preparedness in neighbouring countries. It’s really important to continue to invest in preparedness.”
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