The Security Council reiterated today its grave concern over the most recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, highlighting the urgent need to respond since the disease could spread rapidly, possibly with serious humanitarian consequences and impacting regional stability.
In a statement (document S/PRST 2019/6) tabled by Jacek Czaputowicz (Poland), Council President for August, the 15-member Council took note that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
“The Security Council emphasizes the need for continued cooperation and coordination with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to address the Ebola outbreak, as well as with the States in the region, as appropriate,” the statement said.
It went on to stress the need for Governments and civil society in affected and at-risk countries to work urgently with partners to improve their preparedness to prevent, detect and respond to possible cases, as well as to implement optimal vaccine strategies that have maximum impact in curtailing the outbreak.
By other terms, the Council reiterated its serious concern over the security situation in Ebola-affected areas — in particular attacks on humanitarian and medical personnel engaged exclusively in medical duties. It called for an immediate cessation of hostilities by all armed groups, condemning in the strongest terms attacks and threats intentionally directed against medical and humanitarian personnel, including the killing of health workers, attacks against their means of transportation, equipment, hospitals and other medical facilities.
The Council demanded safe and unhindered access for humanitarian and medical personnel engaged exclusively in medical duties, stressing that response teams and medical facilities must be respected and protected.
It went on to welcome efforts by David Gressly, the United Nations Ebola Emergency Response Coordinator, to create the enabling environment for the WHO-led public health response in support of the Government, and to highlight the need for a comprehensive community-based approach by building trust among the people, especially those most at risk.
The meeting began at 10:11 a.m. and ended at 10:13 a.m.