28 May 2003

Congo-Kinshasa: African Development Bank Gives US $500,000 to Help Fight Ebola

Nairobi — The African Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US $500,000 grant to help fight the spread of Ebola in the Republic of Congo (ROC), according to a statement issued by the bank on Monday.

Ebola, a virulent hemorrhagic fever with no known treatment or vaccine, broke out in the ROC in 2002, and remains prevalent in the Cuvette-Ouest Region. By early May, the number of Ebola cases identified in the region had risen to 175, with 136 deaths, the bank said.

On 23 April, the director in the ROC health ministry, Dr Joseph Mboussa, told IRIN that the Ebola epidemic, which had broken out in the region in December 2002, had almost been contained.

The Monday statement from ADB indicated that several people were still under medical surveillance and that several orphans had already been recorded in the affected villages.

It said the grant was aimed at helping the government improve health conditions for the people through better control of the epidemic. It would also reinforce the surveillance and epidemiological control of the disease. The grant would enable the government to acquire information-gathering materials and training staff on their use, and to procure communication equipment.

According to the ADB, Kelle District, with 87 percent of the registered Ebola cases, was the most affected by the epidemic. It said more than 25,000 inhabitants of Kelle and Mbomo districts had taken refuge in the other districts of the Cuvette-Ouest Region and in the neighbouring areas of Makoua, Owando and Boundji.

ADB said the total cost of the campaign against Ebola, including the establishment of an epidemiological surveillance system, was estimated at $1.1 million, and that its grant corresponded to 44.4 percent of the cost.

The ADB funding was the second medical grant to the ROC. In July 1998, the bank gave another $500,000 for the rehabilitation of health facilities in areas affected by armed conflicts that occurred in 1997 and 1998.

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