*Critical dynamic. Excerpt from WCS website: "...Emergency Workshop in Brazzaville is first to develop a multidisciplinary approach to solving the continuing Ebola Virus crisis in Central Africa: A workshop was organized in March of 2003 to bring together regional government authorities, NGO’s (both conservation and human medicine) and virology experts to address the current Ebola virus outbreak in northwest Congo. The workshop was sanctioned by the Congolese Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Forests, with additional participants from the Ministry of Agriculture. Experts and representatives from the Congo, DRC, and Gabon participated to provide insights from the previous outbreaks in those countries. Representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund also participated. The workshop was organized by ECOFAC (a regional conservation initiative of the European Community and the Wildlife Conservation Society under the auspices of the Congolese government)...1) The two lead Congolese ministers (Health and Forestry) opened and closed the workshop at public events which included local and international press. At these “ceremonies,” their commitment to work collaboratively and invite external participation with the mutually reinforcing goals of protecting people and wildlife was clearly stated. This provides an essential framework of authority within which conservation efforts can legitimately help address health issues and formalizes the linkages among the disciplines that can contribute to the urgently needed actions. 2) Immediate needs agreed upon by all representatives at the workshop included: (a) Community outreach programs among local villages to establish the linkages between conservation and health efforts. The virtual abandonment of rural communities over the last 10-20 years has resulted in isolation, mistrust, and few or no education or health care programs. The resulting lack of trust and hostilities at the local level has resulted in both the rejection of human health care efforts as well as disruption of all ongoing conservation activities whenever an Ebola outbreak occurs. Contact with villages must be established immediately and an assessment of their health and education needs must be performed as soon as possible to begin intervention programs to protect the health of people and of wildlife.(b) Educational components used by conservation teams in Congo have already shown that disease risk education in villages can reduce primate hunting and consumption. This needs to be expanded into areas threatened by Ebola. (c) Research needs to be supported in the area of current outbreak to understand the disease process, to help identify great ape populations at greatest risk, and to assess intervention strategies. This meeting represented the first multidisciplinary experts forum to address Ebola and the relationships between human and wildlife health. In itself, this was a groundbreaking step, shifting from the old paradigm of competition for resources toward building the collaborative teams essential for tackling these complex issues of common concern..."

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