DR CONGO – The first two patients cured of Ebola virus disease have been discharged from the Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) since the resurgence of the virus was declared in October in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

According to the chief medical officer of the Beni area, in the North Kivu province, Dr. Michel Tosalisana, the patients are a couple admitted in the ETC soon after the virus reappeared in the region.

Since October 8, the date when the DRC’s Health Ministry declared the resurgence of the virus in North Kivu, more than five months after the end of a previous Ebola outbreak in the same province, eight cases of Ebola have been reported, including six deaths while 573 people exposed to the virus have been identified.

“We have reported eight confirmed cases, including four children between ten months and 29 months,” said Tosalisana.

In early May 2021, the DRC officially declared the end of the 12th Ebola outbreak in North Kivu province, three months after the outbreak began. The outbreak was a resurgence of cases from a survivor of the 10th EVD outbreak in the region.

The 10th Ebola outbreak in DRC was the second largest EVD outbreak in history lasting from August 2018 and June 2020 affecting 3,470 people with 2,287 deaths.

The outbreak was reported in four (4) health zones in the affected province, with a total of 12 cases, 6 deaths (case fatality rate 50%), including two healthcare workers who acquired the infection while caring for EVD patients.

The Government had declared the outbreak on 07 February 2021, after seven months of declaring an end to the 10th outbreak in the province.

WHO, which has been helping Congo battle Ebola and Covid-19, has however received a blow after The European Commission suspended funding to the World Health Organization’s programmes in the country due to concerns over the U.N. agency’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal.

A from the Commission marked informed the WHO of the immediate suspension of financing for five WHO programmes, including its Ebola and COVID-19 operations. The total amount summing up to more than 20.7 million euros (US$24.02 million).

Major donors led by the United States and Germany have demanded fundamental reforms to its ability to deal with outbreaks and the scandal.

Some 83 aid workers, a quarter of them employed by the WHO, were involved in sexual coercion and abuse during Congo’s 10th Ebola epidemic, an independent commission said last month. The report cited nine allegations of rape.

However, the WHO last week issued its plan to prevent any further misconduct by aid workers deployed in its field operations, vowing to ensure the scandal would be “the catalyst for a profound transformation of WHO’s culture”.

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