Jul 24, 2019

USAID will send over $38 million to combat Congo's Ebola outbreak

Medical staff in protective gear prepare to enter an isolation area at an Ebola treatment centre in Goma. Photo: Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

USAID will send more than $38 million to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, several of its neighboring countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat Congo's ongoing Ebola outbreak, per a Wednesday press release.

The numbers that matter: WHO issued a global health warning earlier this month on the Congo's Ebola outbreak. As of July 22, there were 2,592 confirmed cases of Ebola in the region and at least 1,743 related deaths, per USAID. Last week, there were 2,428 confirmed cases and 1,604 confirmed deaths.

  • The risk of the deadly virus spreading outside the region remains low, according to WHO's global health warning on July 17.

Details: USAID will send $15 million of its new assistance package to WHO, per Wednesday's press release. The U.S. is also funding "critical preparedness efforts" in Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda.

  • USAID's $38 million will also fund training for health care workers, enhanced surveillance for the disease, the promotion of safe burials and food, among other efforts.
  • USAID has spent more than $136 million since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2018, per Wednesday's press release.

Go deeper: WHO amps up global Ebola warning after spread to big Congo city

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One year on — No end in sight for deadly Ebola outbreak

Health workers carry a coffin containing a victim of Ebola virus in Butembo in May. Photo: John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images

One year ago today, the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared an outbreak of Ebola. Since then, more than 1,800 people have died, the virus has been carried to the large city of Goma on the border of Rwanda and to nearby Uganda, and violence has killed health workers.

The big picture: Politics, violence and community suspicion are thwarting efforts to contain the virus, which shows no signs of abatement. Experts say this cycle could easily spiral out of control.

Go deeperArrowAug 1, 2019 - Health

Ebola researchers narrow trial after 2 of 4 treatments show early success

Prince, 8, is handed a certificate confirming he is Ebola-free, outside an Ebola treatment center in Beni, DRC. Photo: Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Public health officials announced Monday they had gathered enough preliminary data to determine that 2 of the 4 investigational treatments for Ebola performed better than the others. The current trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been dropped to focus on a new extension trial for the 2 monoclonal antibodies.

Why it matters: There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for Ebola. Researchers testing drugs during the DRC's largest outbreak found a cocktail of 3 antibodies called REGN-EB3 was most effective, followed closely by monoclonal antibody 114.

Go deeperArrowAug 12, 2019

Planned cuts to U.S. development funds could hurt world's neediest

Bags of sorghum from USAID being unloaded at a port in Sudan. Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reportedly preparing to submit this week a rescission package that could cut billions in foreign development funding — a move that would have a long-term impact on both the federal budget process and vulnerable populations around the world.

Why it matters: OMB’s plan could target global programs that reduce food insecurity, improve public health, expand energy access and combat corruption. And it would upend decades of bipartisan consensus that development funds are a valuable tool to advance America’s values and foreign policy, national security and economic interests.

Go deeperArrowAug 20, 2019