In Summary
  • Tshisekedi on Saturday replaced Ilunga as the head of the country's response to the latest Ebola epidemic, which has killed more than 1,700 people.
  • The health minister resigned, citing his removal as the head of his country's Ebola response and concerns over a proposed "experiment" with a new, unlicensed vaccine.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been pushing for the introduction of a second vaccine produced by a subsidiary of US company Johnson & Johnson.

Kinshasa,

DR Congo's health minister resigned Monday, citing his removal as the head of his country's Ebola response and concerns over a proposed "experiment" with a new, unlicensed vaccine.

"As a result of your decision to place the response to the Ebola outbreak under your direct supervision... I hereby submit my resignation as health minister," Oly Ilunga wrote in a resignation letter to President Felix Tshisekedi.

"As in any war, because that is what this is, there cannot be several centres of decision-making for risk of creating confusion," said the letter.

Ilunga also objected to suggestions "by actors who have demonstrated a clear lack of ethics" to introduce a second vaccine to the country's fight against the highly-infectious haemorrhagic virus disease.

"Strong pressure has been exerted for several months to roll out a new experiment in the DR Congo," he wrote.

SECOND VACCINE

Tshisekedi on Saturday replaced Ilunga as the head of the country's response to the latest Ebola epidemic, which has killed more than 1,700 people.

Nearly 170,000 people have been given an Ebola vaccine manufactured by German pharma giant Merck since the outbreak started in Democratic Republic of Congo a year ago.

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