On Monday, health minister Dr. Congo resigned, in protest at the handling of the Ebola outbreak in the east of the country.
“As a result of your decision to place the response to the Ebola outbreak under your direct supervision… I hereby submit my resignation as health minister,” Oly Ilunga condemned a decision by President Félix Tshisekedi to replace him as the head of the Ebola response team.
“As in any war, because that is what this is, there cannot be several centres of decision-making for risk of creating confusion,” said the letter.
He also criticised what he described as outside pressure to roll out a new experimental Ebola vaccine.
Ilunga also objected to suggestions “by actors who have demonstrated a clear lack of ethics” to introduce a second vaccine to the country’s fight against the highly-infectious hemorrhagic virus disease.
The outbreak has killed more than 1,700 people over the past year.
Nearly 170,000 people have been given an Ebola vaccine manufactured by German pharma giant Merck since the outbreak started in Democratic Republic of Congo a year ago.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been pushing for the introduction of a second vaccine produced by a subsidiary of US company Johnson & Johnson, but the health ministry under Ilunga has resisted such a move, citing the risks of introducing a new product in communities where mistrust of Ebola responders is already high.
An Ebola epidemic devastated parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016, and killed more than 11,000 people.
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27 September, 2019