The Ebola outbreak in Congo represents a major cause of concern for the World Health Organization (WHO), that warns they may not be able to contain the spread of the virus if attacks on health workers and treatment centers continue.
A few days ago, on May 10, 2019, WHO announced the Ebola virus has small chances of remaining under controlled in the affected Congo provinces, North Kivu and Ituri. The regions border three other countries, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan, which may soon be the next targets of the outbreak if the attacks won’t stop.
The outbreak killed 1,105 people during the nine months of the epidemic, being classified as the second-worst in recorded history. The security situation and community distrust are negative factors that can lead to an even worse scenario. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, general director of WHO, stated: “The tragedy is that we have the technical means to stop Ebola, but until all parties halt attacks on the response, it will be very difficult to end this outbreak.”
Attacks On Health Workers Continue As The Ebola Outbreak In Congo Is Expanding
The Mai-Mai armed rebel group is one of the main sources of chaos. This week, they attacked a Butembo treatment center, located at the epicenter of the outbreak. On May 3, another assault occurred on a burial team, causing WHO to cease their support in the area for five days. The attacks are meant to cause fear and maintain the general sense of distrust that was inflicted on the population. Shockingly, a good portion of the population believes the epidemic is a hoax meant to benefit the local elites, financially-wise.
The president of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, stated that, because of the constant attacks, the Ebola outbreak in Congo is a never-before-seen critical situation. “The suspension of key services threatens to create a lethal inflection point in the trajectory of the disease,” Miliband added.
In an attempt to stop the virus from spreading even more, the government launched an immunization programme. More than 111,000 people received an experimental vaccine, estimated to be 97.5% effective.