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.

Advertising

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

‘Reaffirm the sanctity’ of religious sites, says Guterres, launching new plan to ‘counter hate and violence’

UN rights chief welcomes new text to protect rights of peasants and other rural workers

New tech infrastructure will help economies recover after COVID-19

Innovations for Content Professionals at the DCX exhibition 2018 in Berlin, in association with The European Sting

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

‘Act fast and do whatever it takes’ to fight the COVID-19 crisis, say leading economists

Statistics show the ugly face of youth training schemes

Medical students: The need for emigration

Impacting society with digital ingenuity – World Summit Award proclaiming the top 8 worldwide

International data flows: Commission launches the adoption of its adequacy decision on Japan

Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

Banks worth $47 trillion adopt new UN-backed climate, sustainability principles

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

Chicken soup for the digital soul: how to bring community back online

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

LGBTQI+ and medicine: are we prepared to deliver dignified and non-discriminatory health care?

India can soar in the robot age. This is how

Court of Auditors: MEPs back five members

Brexit: Citizens’ rights remain a key priority for MEPs

‘End the ongoing atrocities’ against people with albinism in Malawi, say UN rights experts

Libya: Security Council demands commitment to ‘a lasting ceasefire’

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

Iraq protests: UN calls for national talks to break ‘vicious cycle’ of violence

Trump fines China with $50 billion a year plus some more…

Killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ Guterres warns, urging ‘swift action’

Hollande decisively rebuffs Merkel’s and Rehn’s austerity policies

The EU threatens to occupy Libya militarily; is another colonial war brewing?

On Human Rights Day European Youth Forum calls for end to discrimination of young people

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

The migration crisis is slowly melting the entire EU edifice

‘Bleakest period yet’ in Occupied Palestinian Territory: UN human rights expert

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

European Parliament gives green light to Christine Lagarde

New chapters in EU-China trade disputes

Tax evasion and fraud threaten the European project

World Retail Congress Dubai 2016: Retail’s night of nights

The future of energy is being shaped in Asia

What just happened? 5 themes from the COP24 climate talks in Poland

These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

‘Stronger’ effort must be made to cement peace deal for South Sudanese women and girls: UN Women chief

Mergers: Commission prohibits Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

Commission: Gifts of €6 billion and free trainees to ‘help’ poor employers

How China raised the stakes for electric vehicles

World-famous cultural institutions closed due to coronavirus are welcoming virtual visitors

The implications of Brexit on European business, youth entrepreneurship and junior enterprises.

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

Theresa May attempts to ease the EU stance as Britons request another EU referendum

Planes can now fly for 21 hours non-stop. But are people ready?

Libya: UN report urges accountability for deadly attack against migrant centre

Dealing with stress among healthcare professionals: are we missing the elephant in the room?

World Retail Congress announces Dubai 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

How the future of computing can make or break the AI revolution

FROM THE FIELD: West Africa’s wishful gold diggers

Eurozone: How can 200 banks find €400 billion?

How traditional Islamic giving can play a role in the future of aid

JADE @ European Business Summit 2014: Youth Unemployment – a drive to Entrepreneurship

NASA is recruiting new astronauts – this is what it takes to apply

More Stings?

Advertising

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