Africa needs further globa attention - EVD in DRC and Uganda

18 June, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this e-mail finds you well

In reference to the WHO statement of the IHR emergency committee on ebola (EVD) situation in DRC NOT being a public health event of international concern even after transmission of cases to Uganda. I've few points I'd like to highlight:

First, According to the WHO documents the representation of African experts in the IHR roster of experts is among the lowest globally, along with EMRO and South-East Asia. Which brings the question on the weight of the affected countries' experts in these global decisions?

Second, although declaring a PHEIC requires following several criteria (that the aforementioned IHR emergency committee members have declared that they have followed), it was still crucially-important to take into consideration the security situation and conflicts hitting the region and how such unrest affects the quality of the existing health systems? How we are expecting these conflict-hit Countries to be vigilant and alert for imported or domestic ebola cases?

Third, although the WHO has been in DRC for quite some time this outbreak hasn't stopped, adding to that several outbreaks erupted in the country like Polio and Measles. So is the international community still certain that this outbreak will be strictly contained in DRC?

Fourth, I remember the WHO response to the Zika outbreak in the Americas was so much faster, even though fatalities were never as many as in the DRC outbreak, I'm sure mircocephaly and GBS are serious consequences, but how about more than 1,000 lives lost for this deadly virus? Or maybe Africa doesn't deserve this global attention?!

Fifth, how about the refugee situation of DRC? Thousands have fled the Country even the New York Times wrote an article about the rise of the number of these refugees. Was the refuges and IDP situation taken into consideration?

Finally, as public health professional I feel disappointed and I wish that a re-assessment could be conducted. It's not just an algorithm or strict criteria we have to follow, it's a disturbing and alarming situation and every angle and aspect should be considered with a keen eye.

Thank you and dreaming of a better future for Africa and all African States.

Best regards,

Dr. Noha Salah

MBBCh, FETP, MPH

HIFA profile: Noha Salah (MBBCh, FETP, MPH) is a motivated and experienced public health professional with over 5 years expertise in the fields of public health, preventive medicine, social medicine, epidemiology and health policy. Noha has over 8 years experience as a qualified physician/ paediatrician in the areas of child's health, women's and maternal health in addition to 12 years experience in the domains of human development, humanitarian aids of vulnerable groups and global health as a volunteer medical student. Email: Noha.salah.abdelsamie AT gmail.com