FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
John Rivera, Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health
IMA World Health Calls for International Mobilization to Address Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Editors: IMA World Health staff working in the Ebola zone are available for interview by Skype or phone.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2019—Despite the World Health Organization’s decision not to designate the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a global health emergency, IMA World Health urges the international community to mobilize and devote more resources to fighting the deadly virus.
“It is critical we use every tool possible and work diligently as an international community to get this outbreak under control,” said Allyson Bear, vice president for public health programs for IMA and Lutheran World Relief. “Strong international cooperation and greater investment in community-focused programs are what will keep Ebola from spreading beyond central Africa and eliminate this outbreak in the Congo.”
Vaccination against Ebola is possible, but is not readily available. When combined with increased hygienic practices the epidemic can be controlled. Ebola has been limited to rural areas, but we are concerned that it could advance to more urban locales, where widespread vaccination and prevention measures aremore difficult.
“We must stop Ebola before it reaches cities, where millions live and people come and go to and from all points of the planet,” Bear said.
In DRC, distrust of international organizations and violence have made the outbreak worse. IMA has been able to continue its life-saving efforts in the hot zone because of more than two decades of work within and alongside communities to provide basic health services and other programs that have built trust.
IMA teams are providing vaccinations, training community health workers on prevention and identification of Ebola cases, and tracing suspected cases in an area where nearly 1 million are at risk.
“We know how to stop Ebola’s spread,but we need more help,” Bear said. “This must be a comprehensive, international effort if we are to stop the spread and save lives.”
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About IMA World Health:
IMA World Health provides solutions to health-related problems in the developing world. IMA — which stands for Interchurch Medical Assistance — was founded in 1960 by a consortium of faith-based relief agencies to provide medical supplies to the world’s poorest populations. For more information, visit imaworldhealth.org.
In January 2019, Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health combined operations to dramatically increase our impact on breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting healthier families and communities throughout the world.