Senate Approves Menendez’s Ebola Eradication Act

Senate Approves Menendez’s Ebola Eradication Act

 

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement after the Senate unanimously approved his Ebola Eradication Act of 2019.  The legislation directs the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to immediately provide assistance for global health and certain other actions necessary to respond to the threat posed by Ebola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Burundi to effectively combat the current Ebola outbreak.

Now in its 13th month, the Ebola outbreak in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has infected over 3,000 people and killed over 2,000. Insecurity, and mistrust of health care workers has been a significant impediment to efforts by the international community to bring this outbreak— the second worst in history.

“The outbreak of Ebola in the eastern Congo is one of the most pressing public health emergencies anywhere in the world, and I am pleased that the United States will finally be able to mount a powerful, uninhibited response to this crisis,” said Senator Menendez. 

Menendez introduced the Ebola Eradication Act of 2019 earlier this year after learning that the Trump Administration was refusing to use all available statutory tools to authorize the provision of critical ebola-combatting assistance to DRC and other impacted countries

“While the White House’s response to this crisis thus far has not only been inadequate, but downright counterproductive, I am relieved the Senate is taking action to recognize it is in our national and international interest to ensure the United States uses every resource available to get this outbreak under control,” the Senator added.

Despite large-scale efforts by Congolese and the international community through community outreach, and use of experimental vaccines and treatments, the outbreak remains uncontained, and risks spreading.   Experts agree that a new strategy, one which identifies development activities that go beyond health as the Ebola Eradication Act proposes, is needed to gain the trust of local communities, and pave the way to greater access for health care workers.  

The Ebola Eradication Act was cosponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). 

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