The World Bank says it will deploy another $300m in crisis aid for DR Congo to help contain the year-old Ebola outbreak.
The financing comes after the World Health Organization last week declared the current outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement that ‘’Together, we must take urgent action to stop the deadly Ebola epidemic that is destroying lives and livelihoods in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” The funds will be added to the $100m the bank provided after Ebola appeared in August 2018, the World Bank said in a statement.
But officials say another $200m could be needed in the coming six months. “The communities and health workers on the front line of this outbreak urgently need more support and resources from the international community to prevent this crisis from worsening inside the country and from spreading across borders.”
Since August last year, Ebola has killed more than 1,700 of the 2,500 people infected in DR Congo in the second-biggest epidemic since more than 11,300 people died between 2014 and 2016 in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has applauded the world bank for the announcement. “We hope this will encourage other partners to step up their contributions to end this outbreak,” he said on Twitter.
Annette Dixon, World Bank vice president for human development who oversees health programs, said the new funding “signals that we are really concerned about the need to scale up the response because the pandemic is not showing signs of weakening at this point.”
While the country has had a good track record of quickly ending previous Ebola pandemics, the current outbreak is concentrated in an extremely poor region of the country that faces many other issues, including lack of security, she told AFP.