Four African countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Ghana and Zambia – have licensed and can now distribute an Ebola vaccine, which the World Heath Organization (WHO) has hailed as a “milestone”.
Preliminary study results indicate the Ervebo vaccine, manufactured by Merck, has a 97.5% efficacy rate. Data also suggests that vaccinating people who are already infected reduces their chances of dying.
DR Congo is currently battling an Ebola outbreak which has killed 2,249 people since August 2018.
“The approval of the Ebola vaccine by these countries is another milestone in the fight against this unforgiving disease,” said WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Africa has rallied to cement hard-fought progress to keep its people safe from Ebola,” he added.
'I don't know how to live anymore': Horror and fear grip survivors of Congo's hidden war
“Even if I go back to my village, I do not know how to live anymore. I have lost all hope.”
By JOHN K NDURU
The attackers came into the village at night wielding machetes. Not even two-year-old Rachele-Ngabausi was spared their violence.
The last thing her 11-year-old sister Mave Grace saw before falling unconscious was men with machetes cutting open their pregnant mother’s belly and killing the unborn child.
When Grace woke she was surrounded by dead bodies. Her left hand was cut off just above the wrist.
“Not even two-year-old Rachele-Kabasinguzi was spared the violence when attackers came into her village at night wielding machetes ( Reuters ) “
Information from Ituri is hard to come by since the region is very
remote and volatile, but the violence there is driven in part by a breakdown of government authority which has sparked conflict in other
parts of the country as well.
President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to leave power
at the end of his mandate in 2016 has undermined the legitimacy of the
state in the eyes of many Congolese, with deadly consequences.
Other survivors like Grace and her family have been forced into camps inside Congo.
Mave Grace’s camp, on a hillside on the edge of the town of
Bunia, is a sea of makeshift blue and white tarpaulin tents, inside which its temporary residents huddle from regular rainy season downpours, and the cold. Many spend their days praying together for a way out. Their bodies and faces show what they ran from. Mave Grace’s sister Rachele-Ngabausi bears a diagonal scar that runs from the bottom of her left cheek, past the inside of her left eye and up to her forehead.
Her father, Nyine Richard, is full of despair.