The African Union (AU) has called for cross-border collaboration to drive the continental preparedness and response efforts against the spread of Ebola virus.
The 55-member pan African bloc, through the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said in its periodic bulletin that the cross-border collaboration on preparedness and response to Ebola virus disease among the hardest-hit Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its neighboring countries would help to contain the spread of the deadly virus from other parts of the continent.
Africa CDC, the AU’s specialized technical agency in the healthcare sector, also announced that it will hold a meeting of health ministers of DRC and the nine neighboring countries to discuss on possible cross-border collaboration against the Ebola virus disease crisis.
The meeting is slated for October 21 in Goma, capital of North Kivu in DRC, and is organized in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). The meeting is also expected to bring together international partners, it was noted.
According to the AU, the upcoming ministerial meeting, among other things, “will discuss the framework for cross-border collaboration on preparedness and response to Ebola virus disease outbreak.”
Figures from the AU show that a total of 2,133 deaths were reported due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC as of September 29, in which the overall Ebola fatality ratio has reached 67 percent.
A total of 3,191 Ebola cases were reported as of September 29, in which some 991 people have recovered from the deadly disease as of the stated period, according to the AU.
Last week, Africa CDC, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), had also organized a similar coordination meeting among Malawi and Zambia on preparedness and cross-border surveillance, which brought together the two countries’ cross-border disease surveillance teams.
“Participants in the meeting acknowledged the need for increased collaboration on cross-border surveillance between countries. They conducted simulation exercises to test their readiness to respond to any Ebola virus disease outbreak and identify gaps in preparedness,” the center said in a statement on Thursday.
Amid the ongoing continental efforts to contain the spread of Ebola virus disease, the AU had recently announced its plan to convene a fundraising forum of African private sector and donors, dubbed “Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust Fund,” on October 15 to support the ongoing response against the Ebola virus outbreak in the DRC.