Vaccination against Ebola has begun in DR Congo where recent cases of the deadly virus resurfaced after a major outbreak in 2014.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said this during his opening speech at the commencement of 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WHA is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.
“I’m pleased to say that vaccination is starting as we speak. Unfortunately, the health minister of DRC cannot be with us today, but I hope he will be able to join us tomorrow,” Ghebreyesus said at the assembly, a forum governed by the World Health Organisation’s 194 member states.
Ghebreyesus said while the resurgence of Ebola is troubling, the world is in a better position to deal with the outbreak that it was in 2014.
“It’s concerning that we now have cases of Ebola in an urban centre, but we are much better placed to deal with this outbreak than we were in 2014,” Ghebreyesus said.
He said there will be no declaration of the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern even though the situation remains serious.
Ghebreyesus also said he is impressed by the commitment of health workers and WHO staff who are currently risking their lives to save others.
“I am proud of the way the whole organisation has responded to this outbreak, at headquarters, the regional office and the country office,” he said.
“And I particularly want to thank our partners, MSF, the World Food Programme, the Red Cross and many others who have responded quickly.”