Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a global health emergency. The outbreak has claimed more than 1 600 lives, and has reached Goma, a city of more than 2 million people. WHO and the EU have requested Norway to assist with training local health workers in the use of the EpiShuttle, an isolation and transport system for patients with serious infectious diseases developed in Norway.
-It is only natural that we should contribute to the international Ebola response, commented Minister of Health Bent Høie.
-We are sending a team of three experienced health workers from Oslo University Hospital, who will be leaving shortly. We are prepared to provide additional equipment and expertise if we are asked to do so.
This is the third time that Norway is providing assistance in connection with the Ebola outbreak in DR Congo. The last time was in April this year, when Norway sent a team of expert health workers and EpiShuttle equipment to DR Congo.
The outbreak is in an area of great poverty, and the population is particularly vulnerable due to food insecurity, instability and conflict between armed groups.
-It difficult to provide normal health services in these areas, and health workers are at risk. This means that Norway’s contribution can make a real difference, said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein.
The team of experts from Oslo University Hospital will also be providing training in Uganda, where incidences of Ebola have been registered.
The Government has provided NOK 17.3 million from this year’s humanitarian budget to the efforts to tackle the current Ebola outbreak. Last year, Norway provided NOK 28.5 million to the humanitarian efforts to fight Ebola in DR Congo.
Read more about Norway’s efforts to fight Ebola in DR Congo here.