DR Congo: Insecurity and attacks mean Ebola will keep spreading, warns world health agency

© UNICEF/Guy Hubbard An Ebola health care worker examines a one week old infant in an isolation tent at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. 3 December 2018.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Worsening security in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo marked by attacks on Ebola clinics have made it a “given” that the deadly virus will spread further, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

In Geneva, spokesperson Christian Lindmeier condemned the “deplorable” targeting of two Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) facilities earlier this week in Katwa and Butembo.

WHO was “doing everything and talking with everyone” to ensure that the operation to overcome the current Ebola outbreak continues, he insisted.

To date, the agency and its partners have relied on armed protection from UN peacekeepers from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), to operate in a region that’s home to more than 100 non-State armed groups.

“In the light of the recent attacks and enhanced discussion with MONUSCO forces, with local authorities”, said Mr. Lindmeier, he said they were working on improving security to ensure that patients and staff were better protected, “and that everything can be done to get this outbreak under control.”

He added that considering the “deteriorating” situation, there was nonetheless “a likelihood of an increase of Ebola cases. That is definitely a given.”

555 lives lost so far to Ebola outbreak

According to the DRC health authorities, the latest outbreak of Ebola which began on 1 August 2018, has claimed 555 lives.

There have been 885 cases of the virus – which is endemic in the vast country, causing high fever, bleeding and death in around 60 per cent of cases – with 820 confirmed infections and 65 probable.

Mr. Lindmeier confirmed that following Wednesday’s arson attack on the Butembo facility, four patients had fled and run away while the attack was ongoing. But they “have not run away” from treatment.

WHO and MSF staff were unhurt but security personnel “did experience casualties”, he added.

“It’s a very understandable reaction that under fire you try to save your own life more than anything,” the WHO spokesperson said, in relation to the missing patients: “Three have already voluntarily returned, that’s also important to note – they understand how important it is – and the fourth for whatever reason hasn’t come back yet or hasn’t been traced yet,” he added, saying that finding the patient had to be a priority now, along with tracing those they had all come into contact with.

In addition to attacks on Ebola treatment centres, healthworkers have faced varying levels of resistance from some local communities in trying to trace anyone who might have come into contact with infected carriers.
“Apart from the obstacles we are facing there are ongoing rumours in the communities that the Ebola virus doesn’t even exist,” Mr Lindmeier said. “And if such a rumour (takes) hold, that makes it easy for groups to not believe in what you see, and what the patients are going through, and that hampers the operations.”

Following the most recent Butembo attack, WHO and partners are working to ensure the safety of the patients and staff. Patients have been transferred to a centre in Katwa.

“It is a priority of the response to ensure quality clinical care for the patients,” the agency said in a statement.                   

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

From drone swarms to modified E. Coli: say hello to a new wave of cyberattacks

Grexit no longer a threat but how to manage a “tutti frutti” government if not with fear?

Cybersecurity needs a holistic approach. Here are three ways to build protection

Can Pakistan make its energy sector greener, cheaper and more reliable? The government thinks so

Zhua Zhou: Choosing The Future

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech from World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions

South Africa still hasn’t won LGBTQ+ equality. Here are 5 reasons why

Vestager vs. Google: a fight to ensure a competitive innovation framework

Is the world living up to its climate commitments?

These 11 EU states already meet their 2020 renewable energy targets

Madagascar villagers learn dangers of outdoor defecation

Yemen: Major UN aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

Yanis Varoufakis: “Unsustainable debt turns the creditor into Leviathan; Life under it is becoming nasty, brutish and short”

Sherpa climbers carried out the highest-ever spring clean. This is what they found

Defence: European Commission paves the way for first joint industrial projects under EU budget

A Sting Exclusive: “Youth voice must be heard in climate change negotiations!”, Bérénice Jond Board Member of European Youth Forum demands from Brussels

A Sting Exclusive: “The competitiveness of Europe depends on a digital single market”, EPP President Joseph Daul highlights live from European Business Summit 2015

Parliament approves €34m in EU aid to Greece, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria

Migration crisis update: Greece could probably say goodbye to Schengen really soon

UN calls for support to implement Central Africa’s newly minted peace agreement

How climate change exacerbates the refugee crisis – and what can be done about it

Denmark’s last circus elephants are retiring – here’s what might take their place

Governments urged to put first ever UN global migration pact in motion, post-Marrakech

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Facebook/Cambridge Analytica: MEPs pursue personal data breaches probe

UN chief welcomes possibility of resumed talks between US and North Korea

The Sino-American trade conflict may be resolved soon

Gender disparity in salary and promotion in medicine: still a long way to go

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

Climate Change: A Healthcare Emergency

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

Releasing trapped value is key to success in the digital world

The historic accomplishment of a seamless EU patent and intellectual property space

Brexiteer May gets lip-service from Trump and Turkish promises from Erdogan

How do we build trust between humans and AI?

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: UN Secretary-General Announces “Climate Action 2016” Partnership

The European Brain Drain: a truth or a myth?

Young? You should work out the entrepreneurial heart before the mind

These countries are home to the highest proportion of refugees in the world

Is the European Banking Union an impossible task?

More attacks, ‘persisting security challenges’ threaten progress in West Africa, Sahel

eGovernmnet for more efficiency, equality and democracy

How Sierra Leone is using 3D printing to become a model state

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

Major UN aid operation for 650,000 gets underway across Syria-Jordan border

Sign language protects ‘linguistic identity and cultural diversity’ of all users, says UN chief

MEPs take stock of the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy priorities

Prospect of negotiated peace in Afghanistan ‘never been more real’ – UN mission chief

Schengen: MEPs adopt their position on temporary checks at national borders

China hails human rights progress amid calls to close detention camps

The role of employers in the post #MeToo era

Failing to see reality or deceiving the masses? The EU about poverty and social exclusion

Hunger and obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean compounded by inequality: UN report

‘Complacency’ a factor in stagnating global vaccination rates, warn UN health chiefs

European Parliament gives green light to Christine Lagarde

The glimmers of hope in the latest dire climate report

Teenage girl’s death sentence spotlights Sudan’s failure to tackle forced marriage, gender-based violence – UN rights office

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s