Reuters/GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo
Congo's health minister, Oly Ilunga, resigned on Monday in protest at the presidency's announcement last week that it was stripping his team of control over the response to the Ebola outbreak.
Ilunga has overseen the nearly year-long response to Democratic Republic of Congo's latest Ebola epidemic, which is the second deadliest in history. It has killed more than 1,700 people and infected more than 800 others.
But President Felix Tshisekedi's office announced on Saturday that it was assigning responsibility for the response to a multi-disciplinary team that would report directly to Tshisekedi.
In his resignation letter, Ilunga decried ‘interference in the management of the response’ and criticised outside pressure to deploy a second Ebola vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson over his objections.
‘It would be fanciful to think that the new vaccine proposed by actors who have shown an obvious lack of ethics by voluntarily hiding important information from medical authorities, could have a significant impact on the control of the current outbreak,’ he said.
It was not immediately clear which actors he was referring to, but international donors like the World Health Organization and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres have publicly called for the use of the second vaccine.
Ilunga says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not been proved to be effective and that deploying a second vaccine would confuse people. The company has said the vaccine, which has gone through phase 1 trials, is safe.
The vaccine currently being used is manufactured by Merck and has been administered to about 170,000 people.Last updated: July 22 2019 06:07 PM
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Uganda’s crackdown on public gatherings ruled unconstitutional
South African police arrest 55 people on first day of lockdown
South Africa struggles to adapt to lockdown
SA cases exceed 900, Ramaphosa calls for G20 aid
Nigerian army prepares for coronavirus lockdown, mass burials
South Africa prepares quarantine sites as coronavirus cases rise to 709
Islamic State claims Mozambique attack close to gas projects
Afro-jazz star Dibango dies after contracting coronavirus
SA braces for lockdown as virus cases spike to 554