World Health Organization suspends work on Ebola in Congo amid militant attacks

27 September, 2018, 14:55 | Author: Kara Nash
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo Facing'Perfect Storm With Ongoing Ebola Outbreak- WHO Deputy Director-General

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) faces a unsafe culmination of negative circumstances as a result of the ongoing Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the country, World Health Organization (WHO) Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response Dr. Peter Salama said at a briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

"Every day we lose is another lost chance to care for patients, trace contacts, conduct safe burials and stop this outbreak before it expands further and further", said Peter Salama, the WHO's head of emergency response.

WHO's Emergency Response Chief and Australian epidemiologist, Peter Salama, told a news conference in Geneva that Ebola had claimed 100 lives since the deadly virus outbreak almost two months ago in North Kivu.

The Congolese army has blamed the Allied Democratic Forces - an Islamist rebel movement born in western Uganda - for the Saturday attack in the flashpoint town of Beni that killed at least 21 people.

For weeks, the World Health Organization and other responders have openly anxious about insecurity in North Kivu province- a mineral-rich part of DRC riven by decades of conflict between government forces and militant groups that have multiplied and splintered over the past two decades.

The latest Ebola outbreak, which causes haemorrhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, is believed to have killed 99 people since July and infected another 48. Local public health officials warned the unrest will have a "considerable impact" on the Ebola outbreak.

About 100 people have died and 150 cases of the virus have been confirmed across two vast provinces, North Kivu and Ituri.

Just days later, a second outbreak was discovered across the vast Central African nation, in a region that has been at the heart of multiple conflicts.

Pockets of "reluctance, refusal and resistance" to accept Ebola vaccination were generating numerous new cases, Salama said.

"We also see a very concerning trend that resistance, driven by quite natural fear of this terrifying disease, is starting to be exploited by local politicians", Salama said at a news conference on Tuesday, "and we're very concerned in the run-up to elections, projected for December, that that exploitation. will gather momentum and make it very hard to root out the last cases of Ebola". "An added complication here is that some of these fighters may have been exposed to Ebola, and yet they'll be even more hard to track down than ordinary civilians".



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