The African Union (AU) on Wednesday urged concerted efforts against the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the death toll climbed to 1,782.
"The AU Commission, through the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is reinforcing its support to the Ebola response in the DRC and other parts of Africa, following the declaration of the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern," the AU said in its monthly bulletin issued on Wednesday.
According to the 55-member pan African bloc, a total of 1,782 deaths were reported due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC as of July 27, in which the overall Ebola fatality ratio has reached 67 percent. Figures from the AU also indicate that a total of 2,659 Ebola cases were reported as of July 27, in which some 2,565 cases were confirmed while the remaining 94 cases are said to be probable Ebola cases.
The AU also said that some 767 people have recovered from the deadly disease as of stated period. The continental bloc also stressed that its "expanded plan in the fight against Ebola will not be limited to the DRC but also includes countries that share borders with the DRC and other countries within the region."
The AU also disclosed the deployment of experts to DRC's neighboring countries that are South Sudan and Uganda "to assess their level of preparedness and identify gaps and areas requiring support." "The Africa CDC will also post additional experts to these and other countries in the region to support preparedness and surveillance, and response in case there is an outbreak in those countries," the statement read.
Noting its plan to deploy more members of the African Voluntary Health Corps to the DRC and neighboring countries, the AU also called on its member countries for immediate deployment of healthcare experts. The African Voluntary Health Corps is a team of epidemiologists, anthropologists, and communication, laboratory, and logistics experts, from different parts of Africa who are on standby for deployment when there is a disease outbreak or public health emergency.
Africa CDC, which has been supporting response efforts in the DRC since August 2018, presently operates with 41 experts who were deployed in the field. Last week, the AU had also disclosed its plan to convene a fundraising forum of the African private sector and donors to support the ongoing response against the Ebola virus outbreak in the DRC.
The AU, which reiterated its grave concern over the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, said that the high-level continental forum under the theme "Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust Fund" will be held during the first week of September 2019, in a bid to mobilize resources for the continental Ebola response efforts. The AU had previously convened a continental fundraising forum back in 2014 for a similar cause when the Ebola virus disease outbreak battered West African countries.
The West African Ebola epidemic, which is regarded as the largest in history, started with cases of Ebola virus in the forested rural region of southeastern Guinea, as reported by the WHO in March 2014. Cases of Ebola were soon after reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone, which border Guinea. According to the AU, the 2014 resource mobilization forum that brought together African private sector as well as international partners "was instrumental in bringing to an end the Ebola virus disease in West Africa."
"This showed the importance of strong African solidarity during times of crisis in the continent," the AU said.