Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Attack on civilians threatens Ebola response in DRC

DRC North Kivu rebels Ebola still active in DRC
Johnnie Parks | 27 September, 2018, 23:40

Health officials said it could hinder the response there to Ebola, a serious, often-fatal disease that is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads from human to human through the bodily fluids of people who exhibit symptoms.

NRC is providing food, essential household items, education and legal counselling in Ituri, North and South Kivu, Tanganyika and the Kasai region for people who have been forced to flee, and for those returning home. It has advised against and restriction of travel and trade to the DRC based on the information that is now available and is continuing to monitor and verify travel and trade measures if necessary.

After 21 people died in an attack by the Allied Democratic Forces rebels in the city of Beni on Saturday, community groups called for days of mourning and protests that are expected to last at least until Friday.

"We are now extremely concerned that several factors may be coming together in the next weeks or months to create a potentially flawless storm". Since that date, 11,563 people, including medical staff, have been vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health, which is leading the vaccination program with support from WHO and global partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

"We also see a very concerning trend".

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Meanwhile, fears and misconceptions about the virus are being exploited by politicians ahead of DRC's highly-contentious December vote, leading to increased mistrust of health workers among the population, he said.

It also prompted NGOs in Beni working to fight the spread of Ebola to halt their work following a health ministry request, although Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was operating as normal in treatment centres some 30-50 kilometres (20-30 miles) outside the city.

A previous outbreak in a remote part of northwestern part of the country near the Congo River was stamped out after a massive response, yet the ongoing outbreak was discovered a week later, at the start of August.

"If WHO and its partners had to leave North Kivu. we would have grave concerns that this outbreak would not be able to be well controlled in the coming weeks or months".

"There are no plans for World Health Organization or United Nations staff to pull out", he added.

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