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African Union calls for concerted efforts against Ebola outbreak after 2,133 dead

Christian Fernsby |
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 2,133.

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According to the 55-member pan African bloc, a total of 2,133 deaths were reported due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC as of September 29, in which the overall Ebola fatality ratio has reached 67 percent, the AU said in its periodic bulletin issued on Wednesday.

Figures from the AU also indicate that a total of 3,191 Ebola cases were reported as of July 27, in which some 991 people have recovered from the deadly disease as of the stated period.

The AU Commission, through the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), also stressed that it's presently reinforcing its support to the Ebola response in the DRC and its neighboring countries.

The AU also disclosed its plan to convene a fundraising forum of African private sector and donors, dubbed "Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust Fund," on October 15 to support the ongoing response against the Ebola virus outbreak in the DRC.

This is an opportunity for business owners, philanthropists, corporate and philanthropic organizations, donor agencies, member states, nations, associations, groups, and individuals to support the response in the DRC through financial donations, the AU said.

The continental bloc also stressed that the Regional Collaborating Centers continued to support preparedness in member states, including sharing information and discussing preparedness plans.

It also stressed that 24 of the 30 new volunteers recruited by Africa CDC "have been cleared for deployment," and will be deployed as soon as deployment order is received from the government of DRC.

Africa CDC volunteers and experts have so far supported tracing of 1,918 contacts and investigation of 1,682 alerts, including active case-finding for 943 suspected cases, it was noted.

The AU, however, stressed that security-related challenges are affecting the effective Ebola virus response efforts in parts of DRC.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that security-related challenges have posed "a serious impact on the response activities on the ground, and it could lead to gaps or delays in the reporting of new Ebola Virus Disease cases in this hotspot area."

"Overall, these incidents underscore the need for continued and proactive engagement and sensitizing of local communities throughout areas with Ebola Virus Disease transmission and high-risk areas that may not currently be affected," the WHO said last week.

The high-level continental forum "Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust Fund," slated for October 15 at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, mainly aimed 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.

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