Ebola: DR Congo declares end to outbreak, as top footballers join global fight against virus

Ebola treatment centre outside an Ebola virus disease (EVD) case management centre run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the town of Guéckédou, Guinea. Photo: UNICEF/Suzanne Beukes

17 November 2014 – The United Nations today praised the end of an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as some of the world’s top football players, including Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Neymar Jr, announced they are joining the Organization’s fight to help raise global awareness in the fight against the deadly virus.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Moustapha Soumaré praised the DRC authorities for their rapid and coordinated response, despite enormous logistical challenges, and paid tribute to the bravery of aid teams, in particular to the eight health workers who died in the early days of the outbreak.

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO) there had been 66 cases of Ebola reported in the DRC, including the health-care workers. In total, 49 deaths have been reported before authorities in that country declared the end of the outbreak, which is unrelated to the Ebola outbreak that originated in West Africa.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said air support from the UN team in the DRC and its partners enabled the travel of essential health and sanitation experts and delivery of tonnes of medical, nutrition and other critical aid supplies and equipment, in support of the response.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) mourned the passing of Marcel Rudasingwa, UNMEER’s Emergency Crisis Manager in Guinea. A Rwandan national, Mr. Rudasingwa passed away suddenly from natural causes.

The Head of the UN Mission, Anthony Banbury, said that in just a short space of time, Mr. Rudasingwa played a pivotal role in the Organization's and the international community's response to the Ebola crisis in Guinea.

In other news, the World Bank launched a new campaign, 11 Against Ebola, with footballers from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona’s Neymar Jr., Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Bayern Munich’s Philipp Lahm are among the players who share 11 simple health messages selected with the help of doctors and health experts using the slogan Together, we can beat Ebola and the hashtag #wecanbeatebola.

“It is so important that we get the right information to those affected by the Ebola outbreak,” said Mr. Neymar Jr. “We all hope this positive campaign will improve people’s understanding of the Ebola virus and help us to reduce the chances of it spreading. Let’s all get behind this campaign to help our brothers and sisters in the worst-hit regions. Together, we can beat Ebola.”

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said: “It’s inspiring to see the world’s top football players come together to help in the fight against Ebola.” “By spreading important health messages to children, families, and communities in the Ebola-affected countries, the power of their celebrity will literally help save lives,” he said.

According to the WHO, as of November 11, 2014, a total of 14,413 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in six countries (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States) and two previously affected countries (Nigeria, Senegal). There have been 5,177 reported deaths.


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World Bank supportive of footballers' Ebola messages. Credit: World Bank


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