Author: Andrew

DRC to provide vaccines to as many people as possible

DRC to provide vaccines to as many people as possible

‘Ebola is real’: Uganda to trial vaccines and shut schools early to contain outbreak Read more

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak in DRC a global emergency. The virus started in the Ebola hotspot of the rural Virunga mountains, near the Ugandan border, in March, and then quickly spread in the capital Kinshasa, infecting nearly 700 people in an area the size of Belgium and Luxembourg combined.

The outbreak has killed about 3,600 people and sickened nearly 10,000. The WHO warns that the outbreak could spread to other countries, including the United States, where two people are already being treated. “Ebola is a public health threat that can no longer be denied,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO’s director general in a statement on Thursday.

Since the outbreak began, the WHO has released five public health strategies called pandemic plans, each of which has detailed how to prepare a country should the disease spread. The DRC is on track to meet two of those plans – the first of which was to provide vaccines to as many people as possible.

In the second pandemic strategy, the DRC is hoping to halt the spread of the virus with a total lockdown of its schools, universities and other public institutions as well as closing all public buildings and public transportation to contain the virus.

Schools were closed in all 32 districts in the country’s capital on Wednesday, and all schools except elementary and middle schools have been shuttered in other parts of the country. The DRC announced that students in Kinshasa and its environs, and several other cities and provinces, would return to classes in the spring after the lockdown is lifted.

In his remarks on Thursday, Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, announced that the country would be testing every student in public schools. The plan would be to find out which children have the disease, and then isolate them and treat them. Those who are found to have a positive test result would be held at home, and would be treated according to existing guidelines. Museveni also said that the government plans to start the process of reopening schools as soon as possible. “We will begin the process of reopening schools in June,” he said.

It remains to be seen how effective the lockdown would be, since few infections have

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