A UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST) is being deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to help control the outbreak of Ebola virus disease.
The deployment is in response to a call from the World Health Organization’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). The GOARN team, which the members of the UK-PHRST will be part of, is working closely with the government of the DRC to rapidly scale up operations in response to the current outbreak.
The three-member team is expected to remain in the DRC for around six weeks, during which time they will help track the spread of the outbreak, and will assist in establishing robust data systems that will help align crucial information gathering. The UK-PHRST also has expertise in various other key areas for Ebola response, such as laboratory diagnostics, that can be deployed should they be needed. As the deployment progresses, it will also provide support and share expertise with partners in DRC to strengthen the health system beyond the immediate response.
Professor Daniel Bausch, Director of the UK-PHRST said: “We are all aware of the potential devastation Ebola can cause, so it’s essential that we respond rapidly to stop the outbreak in its tracks.”
“Fortunately, we are seeing a rapid response both in the DRC and from international partners, and the UK-PHRST is proud to be part of that, providing specialist support that can benefit the country, not only for this outbreak but for the long-term,” Professor Bausch said.
On 8 May 2018, the DRC declared a new outbreak of Ebola, the country’s ninth outbreak. As of 14 May, 41 cases had been documented, included 20 deaths.