Ebola kills at least 1,000 people for clinical attacks in Congo
Since August, more than 1,000 people have died in Ebola in eastern Congo, the country's health minister said on Friday, as hostility to health professionals continues to undermine efforts to contain the second most deadly outbreak. of the virus.
Health Minister Oly Ilunga told the Associated Press that four deaths at the Katwa epicenter of the outbreak helped lift the death toll to 1,008. Two more deaths were reported in the town of Butembo.
The outbreak declared nearly nine months ago had already caused most of the deaths behind the 2014-2016 outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa, which killed more than 11,000 people.
A volatile security situation and deep distrust of the community has hampered efforts to control the epidemic in eastern Congo. Ebola treatment centers were repeatedly attacked, leaving government health officials at staff clinics at the Butembo and Katwa access points.
International aid organizations disrupted their work in both communities due to violence. A Cameroonian epidemiologist working with the WHO was killed last month during an attack on a hospital in Butembo.
Insecurity has become a "major deterrent" to controlling the Ebola outbreak, said Michael Ryan, director of WHO health emergencies, told reporters in Geneva on Friday.
He said 119 attacks were recorded since January, 42 of them targeting health facilities, while 85 health workers were injured or killed. Dozens of rebel groups operate in the region, and political rivalries, in part, drive the community's rejection of health personnel.
"Every time we can regain control of the virus and contain its spread, we experience significant security events," Ryan said. "We are anticipating a scenario of intense and continuous transmission" of the disease.
The WHO said the latest Ebola outbreak has remained in eastern Congo, although the number of cases increases in a dense and highly mobile population near the border with Uganda and Rwanda.
Many people fear going to Ebola treatment centers, preferring to stay at home and run the risk of transmitting the virus disease to caregivers and neighbors.
The inhabitants of Butembo, highly volatile, believe that the Ebola was brought to the city on purpose, said Vianney Musavuli, 24.
"I am deeply saddened to learn that the number of deaths caused by Ebola has exceeded 1,000," Musavuli said. "The problem is that people here in this area believe that Ebola is a political issue, which is why villagers are still attacking teams in retaliation."
Residents of the area were prevented from attending the presidential elections in January, and the Congolese government cited security concerns. Some wonder why money is dumped in the fight against Ebola when more people die every year from malaria and other preventable diseases.
Insecurity also prevented vaccination teams from reaching some areas, further limiting the health response. Still, more than 109,000 people received an experimental but effective vaccine against Ebola. Ryan said authorities are considering introducing another.
He called for more aid from Congo and other countries to close a "critical and urgent gap" of about $ 54 million in retention funds.