Special communication of the Minister of Health regarding the evolution of the ninth Ebola outbreak in DRC (5)

1 July, 2018

Dear Chris and all,

Chris Zielinski: "I am puzzled by this renewed focus on HIFA regarding Ebola. Each death is sad, but so far there have only been 28 deaths in the three months of this Ebola outbreak - compared with about 5,000 malaria deaths in those same three months in DR Congo, not to mention 1,000 cases of buruli ulcer, 5,000 cases of yaws, etc - none of which seems to excite our attention."

The latest Ebola outbreak is important because we remember the estimated 11,350 people who died from Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea in 2014-16 (not to mention the many thousands of additional child, maternal and adult deaths in these countries due not directly to Ebola but to the epidemic's massive impact on health services and on care-seeking). And we know that each new outbreak has the potential for similar, or even worse, devastation.

That said, you are absolutely right that we must always shine a light on the fact that tens of thousands of people are dying prematurely every every day worldwide from common diseases. As we highlight on the HIFA home page (www.hifa.org): 'Every day thousands of children and adults die needlessly because they do not receive basic life-saving interventions [for common life-threatening diseases] - interventions that are often locally available but are simply not provided due to indecision, delays, misdiagnosis', and incorrect treatment. Many would still be alive today if those responsible for their care had access to basic healthcare information.'

The news services do not say it 'because it is not news', but we need to keep saying it, every day.

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (www.dgroups.info), which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org