U.S., DRC, WHO, and Regional Countries Release Joint Ministerial Communique on Ebola Response Efforts
The Joint Ministerial Communiqué on the Occasion of the Meeting of the Regional Ministers of Health on Ebola Preparedness and Response was released on September 25, 2019.
- At the invitation of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States of America, the President and the Minister of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Director General of the World Health Organization, we the Ministers of Health from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, and the Republic of Uganda, met at the United Nations on 25 September 2019 to discuss regional efforts to prepare for and respond to Ebola virus disease in the region.
- The Ministers discussed: the current status of the outbreak including the insecure environment impeding response efforts; preparedness activities; ongoing challenges and successes; opportunities for partnership to enhance preparedness; close national and regional preparedness gaps; and other public health efforts needed to contain the current outbreak, avoid further spread, and prevent resurgence.
- The Ministers emphasized the points made in the United Nations Security Council President’s Statement (S/PRST/2019/6) and agreed that the insecure environment within the Ebola outbreak zones has impeded optimizing the public health and humanitarian measures which are needed to contain the Ebola outbreak. The Ministers condemned attacks on Ebola response personnel engaged in responding to the epidemic. The Ministers committed to work closely with other elements of their governments, the United Nations, civil society groups engaged in responding to the crisis, and other partners to develop and implement effective health sector measures to better protect and prevent violence against health and humanitarian responders amid ongoing insecurity. The Ministers called on all appropriate leaders, officials, and individuals to cease violence and support the efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak to protect their nations, the region, and the globe.
- The Ministers agreed to enhance and strengthen existing measures to enhance preparedness and response capacity to end Ebola virus transmission. The Ministers agreed to maximize awareness and implementation of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts recommendations of the investigational vaccine and support efforts to enroll at-risk health care providers and front line response workers to receive the investigational vaccine. The Ministers agreed to work expeditiously with regulatory agencies to enable use of the two investigational Ebola therapeutics with evidence of human efficacy, mAb114 and REGN-EBV3, within an appropriate investigational protocol in each at-risk country. The Ministers further agreed to: enhance epidemiologic surveillance to improve disease recognition, laboratory diagnosis, the identification of contacts, and contact follow up to prevent transmission and enhance care; achieve strong standards for Ebola virus infection prevention and control; detect and report cases at points of control/entry; provide safe, optimal care for Ebola infected individuals; foster robust beneficial community participation; and, conduct safe and dignified burials for those who die of Ebola virus disease.
- The Ministers committed to strengthen information sharing about Ebola virus disease within the region and among their countries. This includes information on disease occurrence/surveillance, cross-border movement of at-risk individuals (contact tracing) and infected persons, preparedness and response activities and evidenced best practices.
- The Ministers noted the importance of regional collaboration in containing and ending the current Ebola virus disease outbreak. Further they decided to support the organization of the special meeting of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR/CIRGL) in October 2019 to address Ebola preparedness and response as a regional high level issue.