September 14, 2019
Secretary Azar Meets with Local Leaders and Visits Ebola Treatment Center
BUTEMBO, DRC—Today, September 14, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Garrett Grigsby, Director of the HHS Office of Global Affairs; Tim Ziemer, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Mike Hammer, U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); and staff of President Trump’s National Security Council joined World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyeus and United Nations (UN) Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator (EERC) David Gressly in Butembo, DRC, where they toured an Ebola treatment center near the center of the outbreak.
During the visit, the delegation observed the detection, infection prevention, and control measures. They spoke to the healthcare providers about how they provide care for patients at the Ebola treatment center and saw patients being successfully discharged from the center. The delegation also heard from officials and healthcare workers about the challenges they face in providing care due to mistrust and the conflict in the region. Secretary Azar shared his sincere gratitude for the hard work and dedication all personnel have shown in the face of this health crisis.
Secretary Azar and the delegation also participated in a discussion with local community leaders and health personnel. The delegation heard firsthand from the women’s association leader, the Federation of Commerce, the leader of the cultural associations, the representative of traditional leaders, and an Ebola survivor. They shared their perspectives on how to engage the communities more effectively in the response to combat misinformation and improve outcomes.
Secretary Azar expressed the U.S. government’s strong commitment to ending the Ebola outbreak and commitment to work with local, community leaders along the way. “The U.S.A. is here for you not just for Ebola, but also healthcare after Ebola,” he told the community meeting. The U.S. recognizes that health challenges in the DRC extend past Ebola and also supports efforts to fight measles, malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, cholera, and other diseases.
Additional information and details regarding the delegation’s meetings and site visits will be forthcoming in news releases and social media posts.