GUINEA. Brazzaville: Guinea has been cleared of an Ebola outbreak that emerged in the country in February.
Health authorities on 19 June declared that the Ebola outbreak is over in the country but stated the need to be apart because of any possible resurgence.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commended the people and government of Guinea for cooperating in fighting the Ebola out of the country.
“I commend the affected communities, the government and people of Guinea, health workers, partners and everyone else whose dedicated efforts made it possible to contain this Ebola outbreak.
“Based on the lessons learned from the 2014–16 outbreak and through rapid, coordinated response efforts, community engagement, effective public health measures and the equitable use of vaccines, Guinea managed to control the outbreak and prevent its spread beyond its borders”, he said.
The DG further said that the work of the WHO in Guinea has not ended adding that services would render support to enable the survivors’ access post-illness care.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti noted that the world has gotten smarter at fighting Ebola and other health threats.
“Although this Ebola outbreak flared up in the same area as the West Africa one which killed 11 000 people, thanks to innovations and lessons learned, Guinea managed to contain the virus in four months.
“We are getting faster, better and smarter at fighting Ebola. But while this outbreak is over, we must stay alert for a possible resurgence and ensure the expertise in Ebola expands to other health threats such as COVID-19.”
The Ebola Outbreak in Guinea
The Ebola outbreak emerged in Guinea in mid-February and was said to be the first time the disease resurfaced in the country since the deadly outbreak in West Africa that ended in 2016.
The Ebola outbreak in Guinean was first detected by the health authorities in Gouecke, a rural community in the southern N’zerekore prefecture, the same region where the 2014–2016 outbreak first emerged before spreading into neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone and beyond.
16 people were confirmed with Ebola while 7 cases were reported.
11 patients survived while 12 lives were lost
The fight against the Ebola Outbreak was a collaboration between the state government and development partners including the World Health Organization.
Swift response was undertaken with expertise in the recent fight against COVID being explored.
The WHO helped to ship around 24,000 Ebola vaccine doses and supported the vaccination of nearly 11,000 people at high risk, including over 2800 frontline workers.
The WHO deployed more than 100 WHO experts to coordinate the key aspects of the response such as infection prevention and control, disease surveillance, testing, vaccination and treatment using new drugs.
Collaboration with communities was also enhanced to raise awareness about the virus and ensure their involvement and ownership of the efforts to curb the disease.
The WHO reiterated its commitment to support Guinea in its efforts to remain vigilant, maintain surveillance and build capacity to respond quickly to a possible resurgence of the virus.
WHO is also supporting six of the countries which are neighbours to Guinea to step up surveillance band screening at border crossings and within high-risk communities.
In support of the government’s efforts to curb the outbreak, the WHO worked with other United Nations agencies and partners such as the African Development Bank, Alliance for International Medical Action, African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
Others include Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the International Organization for Migration, Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, Terre des Hommes, United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund, United States Agency for International Development, World Bank and World Food Programme.