The World Health Organization (WHO) Friday sent more than 35 immunization experts to Mbandaka, an urban centre with a population of more than 1 million people, where at least one Ebola case has been confirmed.
“These well-trained teams will vaccinate and also follow up on the people who received the vaccine, whether in Mbandaka or in the health zones of Bikoro and Iboko to hope to stem the ongoing epidemic,” said Dr. Allarangar Yokouidé, WHO Representative in the DRC.
The peculiarity of this preventive campaign is to vaccinate circles of people who have been in direct contact with a patient and the second-level contacts of the latter known as ‘contact contacts’.
This Ebola vaccination campaign, the first of its kind in the DRC, is expected to face significant logistical challenges.
The V920rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine has the particularity of being stored at -80 degrees Celsius before being transported to remote areas and affected by the deadly virus.
A new batch of 3200 doses of Ebola vaccine provided by the WHO is expected in Kinshasa on Saturday, May 19 to complete the first 4300 doses arrived last Wednesday to make a total of 7500 doses.
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Friday announced that Canada will provide an additional $2.5 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to support organizations responding to the outbreak.
“Preventing further transmission of the Ebola virus is essential to controlling the current outbreak. This emergency funding will go directly to trusted humanitarian partners and enable health care workers and response teams to continue to quickly manage this outbreak”, the Minister said.
This new funding will be provided to the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and the World Food Programme’s United Nations Humanitarian Air Service for disease treatment and prevention, provision of water, sanitation and logistical and coordination support to ensure the effectiveness of the overall response.
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