GENEVA / EBOLA UPDATE

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26-Jul-2019 00:03:13
The World Health Organization (WHO) said nearly one year after the latest Ebola epidemic broke out in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the disease continues to devastate lives. Some 2,500 people have now been infected with the virus, of whom more than 1,700 have died in the year-long outbreak. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / EBOLA UPDATE
TRT: 3:13
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 26 JULY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

26 JULY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, press room
3. Close up, female journalist typing in her laptop
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“We’ve had 242 cases in the last 21 days in 64 health areas of the total of 664 in North Kivu and Ituri.”
5. Med shot, cameras lined up
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“The difficulty in this response, as you’ve seen, is in order to do that you have a very large operation, that has to penetrate deeply into the community. In the context of conflict and mobility in North Kivu, that is a very difficult task. Sustaining that over a year in what often is a shooting war, multiple armed groups has been a challenge.”
7. Wide shot, journalists along table taking notes on laptops
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“Ebola is a disease that can be controlled without a vaccine. But in this case, and particularly because we are working in such a difficult situation, we believe that the vaccine has been vital, breaking the chains of transmission.”
9. Close up, journalist typing on laptop
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“Within the short term, with current epi, we are in good shape regarding vaccine supply, but there are scenarios, especially if the epidemiology would turn against us, in which we would be very stretched on that supply.”
11. Med shot, journalist
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“The Merck vaccine is specifically designed for an outbreak response. It is a single dose vaccine; protection is within 10 days and therefore the vaccine is highly targeted at an outbreak situation. The J&J vaccine, while an excellent product, is a two-dose vaccine given 56 days apart. It requires quite a time to develop immunity. It could be and is very, potentially very useful in health workers and others, but there are operational challenges in using it in a full-scale epidemic response.”
13. Med shot, journalist
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“Yesterday I was looking at the numbers, and of the all the vaccination rings that had to be started in the last 21 days, of those 242 cases, only 2 rings had not started because of community acceptance issues or security. When you think 240 of 242 vaccination rings were on the way – that is not a result of a distrusting community.”
15. Med shot, journalist
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“Ninety-five percent of communities are now accepting safe and dignified burials. Again, someone coming into your village, or your house, and working with you but taking your loved one away and burying them in a safe way with all the images we see with body bags, again- this is a deeply traumatic time for a family and the fact that 90 to 95 percent of families accept that form of burial is a testament to how much they accept the response.”
17. Various shots, journalists

STORYLINE:

The World Health Organization (WHO) said nearly one year after the latest Ebola epidemic broke out in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the disease continues to devastate lives. Some 2,500 people have now been infected with the virus, of whom more than 1,700 have died in the year-long outbreak.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva today (26 Jul), WHO’s Executive Director of the emergency Response Programme, Dr. Michael Ryan, said, “We’ve had 242 cases in the last 21 days in 64 health areas of the total of 664 in North Kivu and Ituri.”

Last week WHO decided to declare the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo a global health emergency of international concern, as a call to action to the world to end the scourge of Ebola.

The 2018-2019 Ebola epidemic began on 1 August 2018, when it was confirmed that four cases had tested positive for Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Kivu.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“The difficulty in this response, as you’ve seen, is in order to do that you have a very large operation, that has to penetrate deeply into the community. In the context of conflict and mobility in North Kivu, that is a very difficult task. Sustaining that over a year in what often is a shooting war, multiple armed groups has been a challenge.”

The current outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri is considered to be the second largest on record in history of one of the world’s deadliest diseases. Currently WHO is preparing the fourth response plan to be finalized.

While there is no licensed treatment for Ebola, patients in eastern Congo are able to take part in clinical trials of vaccines. That’s a change from the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa, when more than 11,000 people died.

“Ebola is a disease that can be controlled without a vaccine - but in this case, in particular because we are working in such a difficult situation, we believe that the vaccine has been vital, breaking the chains of transmission,” Dr. Ryan explained.

The epidemic is the first in which the Ebola vaccine has been used from the start of the outbreak in order to contain it. The vaccine is being deployed in what’s called a “ring vaccination approach”, where all the people who have been in contact with a confirmed case, as well-as the people they have been in contact with, are offered the vaccine.

“Within the short term, with current epi, we are in good shape regarding vaccine supply, but there are scenarios, especially if the epidemiology will turn against us, in which we would be very stretched on that supply,” WHO’s emergency director warned.

The intent is to block the virus’ ability to spread by developing a wall of immunity in its path. As of this week, just over 170,000 people have been vaccinated and 1,300 treated with investigational therapies in 14 centres. Over 140,000 contacts had to be tracked and traced. Dr. Ryan said that WHO would continue to work with the national authorities to introduce a second vaccine, which would be important.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“The Merck vaccine is specifically designed for an outbreak response. It is a single dose vaccine; protection is within 10 days and therefore the vaccine is highly targeted at an outbreak situation. The J&J vaccine, while an excellent product, is a two-dose vaccine given 56 days apart. It requires quite a time to develop immunity. It could be and is very, potentially very useful in health workers and others, but there are operational challenges in using it in a full-scale epidemic response.”

There had been a huge push toward increasing community acceptance and building trust in the population of North Kivu and Ituri which had been traumatized and underserved for year, Dr. Ryan explained.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Emergency Response Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO):
“Yesterday I was looking at the numbers, and of the all the vaccination rings that had to be started in the last 21 days, of those 242 cases, only 2 rings had not started because of community acceptance issues or security. When you think 240 of 242 vaccination rings were on the way – that is not a result of a distrusting community.”

WHO’s emergency director particularly commended the work of social community workers and their awareness raising campaigns to encounter resistance of local communities. He said, “Ninety-five percent of communities are now accepting safe and dignified burials. Again, someone coming into your village, or your house, and working with you but taking your loved one away and burying them in a safe way with all the images we see with body bags, again- this is a deeply traumatic time for a family and the fact that 90 to 95 percent of families accept that form of burial is a testament to how much they accept the response.”
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