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Ebola response update from Minister for State

20 November 2018

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Harriett Baldwin, Minister of State for Africa updated the House of Commons on Ebola response.

Last week saw the evacuation of World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health staff fighting Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after a shell hit their compound. The World Health Organisation has warned that although Ebola response in the region has resumed, the continued violence is hindering efforts to halt the disease's spread.

The Minister said,

"The number of confirmed Ebola cases in this outbreak has continued to rise. As of the 18th November there were 326 confirmed cases, and a further 47 probable cases, making this the biggest Ebola outbreak in the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo."

She went on to outline the UK Government's activities to plan for and "support the response and preparedness activities in neighbouring countries".

Preet Kaur Gill, the Shadow Minister for International Development welcomed the increase of funding to the response effort, but stated "prevention is better than emergency response", and criticised the Government's distribution of spending. DIFID has "dropped health spending from 18% of DFID spend in 2014, to 12% in 2017."

Asking if DFID felt it has learned the lessons of the 2014 Ebola outbreak the Shadow Minister finished by asking if the Minister,

"recognises that supporting countries to build strong, well managed public services is the only way to ensure that we will not see these outbreaks again in the future."

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