Today, September 25, during the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar co-hosted the “Meeting of Regional Ministers of Health on Ebola Preparedness and Response” with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss the coordinated response to the Ebola outbreak in the DRC and preparedness in the region. The DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, the DRC Minister of Health Eteni Longondo, the DRC Technical Secretary of the Multi-Sectoral Committee for the Response to Ebola Jean-Jacques Muyembe, and the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, along with Ministers of Health from Uganda, Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda, with senior officials from South Sudan, the UN, the World Bank, the United Kingdom, and European Commission participated in this meeting.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the ministers agreed to a joint communique. Read the communique here.
Today’s meeting during U.N. General Assembly week underscored the Trump Administration’s commitment to preventing and ending the Ebola outbreak in the DRC. This meeting also comes one week after Secretary Azar traveled to the DRC to witness the coordinated response efforts first hand and gain a greater understanding of the challenges facing response efforts.
The insecure environment within the DRC Ebola outbreak zones has impeded optimizing the public health and humanitarian measures which are needed to contain the Ebola outbreak. Since this outbreak began, more than 3,000 cases have been reported and more than 2,000 people have lost their lives to the disease. Understanding the serious ongoing challenges, the Ministers discussed: preparedness activities; opportunities for partnership to enhance preparedness; how to close national and regional preparedness gaps; and other public health efforts needed to contain the current outbreak, avoid further spread, and prevent resurgence.
Following the meeting, Secretary Azar, Minister Longondo, Dr. Muyembe, and Director-General Tedros delivered public remarks emphasizing the importance of a coordinated, international response to bring this outbreak to an end and prevent future outbreaks. Secretary Azar’s remarks from this event are available here.
Secretary Azar and President Tshisekedi listen as Director-General Tedros speaks during the meeting (right), and Secretary Azar, joined by Minister Longondo, Dr. Muyembe, and Director-General Tedros, delivers remarks following the meeting (left).