Access in the Hot Zone: Navigating the DRC Ebola Outbreak
The Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) on July 17, has been ongoing for over a year. As of mid-August, there have been over 2,800 cases and 1,900 deaths. The outbreak is not expected to be contained in the near future. Some experts argue that Ebola is becoming endemic to the area and will spread regionally. Médecins Sans Frontières and other NGOs are retooling their approaches to win community trust, while WHO, the World Bank, the U.S. government, and others are putting in place plans for a renewed push in the next six months. Access by seasoned U.S. civilian public health experts to the hot zone remains highly problematic, owing to violent attacks on health providers, the limited capacity of the United States to deploy official civilian experts into austere environments, and a risk aversion born of the Benghazi tragedy. The U.S. response is further constrained by U.S. funding restrictions that limit the scope of assistance to the DRC national government.
This panel will examine how to navigate the formidable barriers to access — the chaos, insecurity, and rampant community resistance in eastern DRC – in this next phase.
Panelists will include: Admiral Tim Ziemer, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, USAID; Ella Watson-Stryker, Humanitarian Representative, Médecins Sans Frontières; and Jeremy Konyndyk, Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development
Moderator: J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center, CSIS
This event was made possible through the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).