DR Congo Ebola centre attacks could force retreat against the deadly disease, warns UN health chief

World Bank /Vincent Tremeau Parents visiting her 15-year-old daugher, who is suspected of being infected by Ebola, at the Ebola Treatment Center in Beni, DRC (January 2019).

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

Attacks on Ebola treatment centres in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), risk reversing the gains made during the current outbreak in the north-east of the country, the head of the UN health agency said on Thursday.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva amid reports of a fresh attack just hours earlier on a facility in Biena health zone, close to Butembo, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that the deadly disease is just one of many concerns for local people.

“These attacks could reverse the gains we have made,” the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General said. “We are working to find a balance between protecting patients and staff from attacks by armed groups and building community trust and ownership. It’s not a simple either/or situation; we must do both to end the outbreak.”

If confirmed, Thursday morning’s attack would be the fourth on treatment or transit facilities, in the last two weeks. It follows the death of an individual in the community which led to “escalating violence” and the local Ebola transit centre being “severely damaged”, Mr. Tedros said.

Hailing the bravery and commitment of those responding to the Ebola threat, the WHO Director-General added that there were scant details beyond what was already known about the latest attack.

“We have not had reports of health workers or patients injured, but we’re awaiting more information,” he said.

Last Saturday, the health chief visited a health centre in Butembo hours after it was attacked for the second time, leaving a police officer dead and medical staff injured.

Of the more than 100 armed groups active in north-eastern DRC, Mr. Tedros cited the Mai-Mai and the Allied Democratic Forces as potentially responsible.

Ebola ‘an added burden’ on community in despair

“The security situation means people are worried about issues beyond health,” he said. “It’s understandable that Ebola is an added burden on an already overburdened population. This creates a challenging climate for the response. And during many of my visits that’s what I witnessed. The despair in the community. Peace or no peace.”

Despite the challenges posed by ongoing insecurity, Mr. Tedros said that gains had been made against Ebola, as it is now “concentrated” in the towns of Butembo and Katwa.

The outbreak has also been contained in 11 out of 28 communities where cases have been recorded “and we have stopped transmission in Beni, Mangina, Komanda and Oicha”, the WHO Director-General said.

There is also “increasing acceptance” by communities of Ebola responders, he insisted, noting that 90 per cent of people have agreed to being vaccinated and follow-up visits.

Latest data from the DRC authorities indicates that in the latest outbreak which began on 1 August in the Kivus, there have been 927 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola, including 584 deaths.

More than 87,000 people have been vaccinated including 27,000 health workers in DRC and 5,000 in neighbouring countries. In addition, more than 58,000 “contacts” have been registered and more than 4,200 are being monitored for signs of illness.

There are also “half as many new cases now as there were in January”, Mr. Tedros said, down from 50 cases per week to 25 cases, on average now.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

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

EC v Samsung: A whole year to compile a case

Telemedicine and the Brazilian reality

Top UN court rules it has jurisdiction to hear Iranian claim against US over frozen assets

How fungi could save the world

Why 2020 is a turning point for cybersecurity

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

How cocoa farming can help stop deforestation

The dangers of data: why the numbers never tell the full story

Pandemic mental health: the urgency of self-care

The Commission accused of tolerating corruption and fraud in taxation

UN recognises role of sport in achieving sustainable development

Commissioner sings “Volar-e” but the European driver no “Cantar-e”

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

Remote working and online shopping could drive 14 million cars off US roads – permanently

COVID-19 is likely to increase youth unemployment in Africa, this is how business can mitigate the damage

EU and China sign landmark agreement protecting European Geographical Indications

Ahead of State of the Union the European Youth Forum highlights lack of action on youth employment

UN chief welcomes establishment of inclusive government in Central African Republic

The umpteenth Italian overturn takes Renzi and PD to unprecedented victory at EU elections

Brexit update: Will the EU grant extention to Britain preventing economic chaos?

DR Congo: Strengthened effort against Ebola is paying off, but insecurity still major constraint – UN health agency

These clothes grow with your child

REACT-EU: EU support to mitigate immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis

Cleaner Air in 2020: 0.5% sulphur cap for ships enters into force worldwide

Myanmar military target civilians in deadly helicopter attack, UN rights office issues war crimes warning

Is Germany’s political landscape becoming a breeding ground for extremism?

Commission publishes the first report on the issuance of a Eurobond

Mental health at stake: A silent epidemic of 21st century

How do we design an inclusive energy transition?

EU to Turkey: No other ties than €3+3bn to upkeep refugees

Further reforms in Japan needed to meet the challenges of population ageing and high public debt

How to make sure tech doesn’t leave people behind

DR Congo: Ebola claims over 1,000 lives, Guterres commits ‘whole’ UN system, to help ‘end the outbreak’

Commission: Do it like the Americans in the food sector

Top UN officials sound alarm as Yemen fighting nears vital hospital in port city of Hudaydah

Central Mali: Top UN genocide prevention official sounds alarm over recent ethnically-targeted killings

“Private” sea freight indexes hide Libor like skeletons?

Why tourism policy needs to use more imagination

COVID-19 is more deadly for some ethnic groups

What washing your hands can teach you about global change

Data protection: Commission decides to refer Greece and Spain to the Court for not transposing EU law

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Mexico must increase foreign bribery enforcement: full implementation of anti-corruption reforms could help

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

Why the internet is yesterday’s news in China’s digital leap forward

Angola’s President João Lourenço calls for stronger EU-Africa cooperation

Western Balkans: MEPs take stock of 2018 progress

Italy’s M.Renzi and Germany’s S. Gabriel veto austerity, ask EU leaders to endorse growth measures

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

The vital role played by logistics during humanitarian crises

The 4 types of leader who will thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

34 million Americans know someone who died after being unable to pay for medical treatment

Ambassador Zhang wishes from Brussels great success and prosperity for the China-EU relations in the Year of the Dog

UN ‘stands in solidarity’ with cyclone-hit India – Secretary-General Guterres

Governments adopt UN global migration pact to help ‘prevent suffering and chaos’

Here’s how to build energy infrastructures fit for the future

Spread Her Wings: Let Her Fly

Conflict, climate change among factors that increase ‘desperation that enables human trafficking to flourish’, says UN chief

A money laundering case on Vatican Bank’s road to renovation

Migrants and refugees are being forgotten in the COVID-19 response. This has to change

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