As the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) approaches 1,000 cases amid increased violence, the World Health Organization reaffirmed its commitment both to ending the outbreak and working with the government and communities to build resilient health systems. Since the outbreak was declared in August 2018, there have been 993 confirmed and probable cases and 621 deaths in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

“We use words like ‘cases’ and ‘containment’ to be scientific, but behind every number is a person, a family and a community that is suffering,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This outbreak has gone on far too long. We owe it to the people of North Kivu to work with them in solidarity not only to end this outbreak as soon as possible, but to build the health systems that address the many other health threats they face on a daily basis,”

More than 96,000 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in DRC, along with health workers in Uganda and South Sudan. As of March 21, 38 of 130 affected health areas have active transmission. More than 44 million border screenings have helped to slow the spread of Ebola in this highly mobile population. No cases have spread beyond North Kivu and Ituri provinces, and no cases have crossed international borders, the WHO said.

Inflammatory arthritis

USFDA nod for injection treatment

The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) injection for treatment of adults with a certain type of inflammatory arthritis called non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA), with objective signs of inflammation. This is the first time that the FDA has approved a treatment for nr-axSpA.

“The approval fulfils an unmet need for patients suffering from non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis as there has been no FDA-approved treatments until now,” said Nikolay Nikolov, associate director for rheumatology of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. nr-axSpA is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes inflammation in the spine and other symptoms. There is no visible damage seen on x-rays, so it is referred to as non-radiographic.

Upgrading patient safety

CAHO conclave in Mumbai

The Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organizations (CAHO) is scheduled to hold its 5th International CAHOCON 2019 in Mumbai for the first time, on April 13 and 14. The conclave will discuss how positive outcomes can be achieved from quality healthcare and the upgrading of patient safety standards in India. “There is an urgent need to audit healthcare delivery standards and accredit healthcare organisations based on the quality of healthcare they provide to patients,” said PM Bhujang, President, Association of Hospitals, in a note on the event.

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