The African Union (AU) on Wednesday called for concerted efforts against the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with the number of deaths rising to 1782.
"The AC Commission, through the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is stepping up its support for Ebola response in the DRC and other parts of Africa after the outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern," the statement said. AU in its monthly newsletter, issued on Wednesday.
According to the 55-member Pan-African bloc, a total of 1,782 deaths were reported due to the ongoing Ebola epidemic in the DRC as of July 27, in which the total Ebola death rate reached 67 percent. The AU figures also show that as of July 27, a total of 2,659 cases of Ebola have been reported, in which about 2,565 cases have been confirmed, while the remaining 94 cases are believed to be probable cases of Ebola.
The AU also said that about 767 people had recovered from the deadly disease by the period. The Continental bloc also stressed that its "expanded plan to fight Ebola will not be limited to the DRC, but also includes countries that share borders with the DRC and other countries in the region."
The AU also revealed the deployment of experts in the neighboring DRC countries, South Sudan and Uganda, "to assess their readiness level and to identify gaps and areas requiring support." "The CDC for Africa will also publish additional experts in these and other countries in the region to support preparedness and oversight and respond in the event of a fire in those countries," the release said.
Noting its plan to deploy more members of the African Voluntary Health Corps in the DRC and neighboring countries, the AU also called on Member States to deploy healthcare experts without delay. The African Volunteer Health Corps is a team of epidemiologists, anthropologists and communications, labs and logistics specialists from different parts of Africa who are ready to deploy when there is an illness or public health emergency.
The African CDC, which has been supporting the DRC response effort since August 2018, is currently working with 41 experts deployed in the field. Last week, the AU also announced its plan to convene a private African-donor fundraising forum to support the ongoing response to the Ebola epidemic in the DRC.
The AU, which reiterated its grave concern about the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, said that a high-level continental forum under the theme "Africa against the Ebola Solidarity Fund" would be held in the first week of September 2019, in an attempt to mobilizing resources for continental Ebola response efforts. The AU had previously convened a Continental Fundraising Forum in 2014 for a similar reason when the Ebola outbreak defeated West African countries.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa, considered the largest in history, began with Ebola virus cases in the afforested rural region of southeastern Guinea, as reported by the WHO in March 2014. Ebola cases were reported shortly after in Liberia and Sierra Leone, which borders Guinea. According to the AU, the 2014 Resource Mobilization Forum, which brought together the African private sector, as well as international partners, "is essential to ending Ebola in West Africa."
"This has shown the importance of strong African solidarity during a continent crisis," the AU said.