Plea for Ebola to be declared a global health emergency

A high-profile British government minister has called for the deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo to be declared a global health emergency. The international development secretary Rory Stewart said the move would help to unlock desperately needed funds. Rory made the appeal during a visit to Butembo, one of the areas worst-affected by the virus. 

More than 1,500 people have died in the eastern DR Congo since the outbreak began nearly a year ago. The World Health Organization has so far refused to categorise it as an international emergency.

There can be few greater challenges than tackling a lethal epidemic. However to do so in a conflict zone ravaged by extreme poverty, insecurity and poor communications amid a population where health workers are feared and distrusted. This is the reality of Ebola in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 1,500 people have lost their lives from the virus in the past year.

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