Published: Sun, December 01, 2019
Medical | By

Ebola responders in DR Congo killed over conflict

Ebola responders in DR Congo killed over conflict

Echoing that message, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said that her "heart goes out to the family and friends of the first responders killed in these attacks".

"We are doing everything possible to care for the injured and bring our staff to safety", she added.

For the United Nations agency, which appealed for the "constant" attacks to stop, the development risks reversing significant progress made against the epidemic, with infections falling to just a handful in recent weeks.

The attacks occurred as the global health organization has been battling to contain the second-worst outbreak of Ebola on record that has seen some 2,200 deaths among 3,309 cases of the disease since August 2018.

In the last week, there were 7 cases of Ebola, down from a peak of over 120 per week in April 2019.

But that progress is now under threat due to the recent surge in violence. "It will be tragic to see more unnecessary suffering in communities that have already suffered so much".

In addition, many local health workers have been recruited by the "well-paying" Ebola response, leading to shortages of trained people to deal with other serious health issues such as an even deadlier measles outbreak and malaria, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders said in a statement.

Ebola response work was put on lockdown there, dismaying health experts who say every attack hurts crucial efforts to contain the deadly virus. Most of the other injured people are from the DRC Ministry of Health. Several rebel groups are active in the region, and local officials say some believe Ebola is nothing but a political ploy. Overall, health workers and infrastructure have been attacked 386 times with seven people killed and 77 wounded, Ryan said.

"While the Ebola outbreak, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives in the eastern DRC, has commanded sustained global attention, measles, which has claimed more than twice as many lives, continues to be underreported", said Unicef's Edouard Beigbeder.

The latest rebel attack outside Beni killed 19 people, the United Kingdom said on Wednesday. "We call on everyone who has a role to play to end this cycle of violence".

There had only been seven Ebola cases in the last week, down from a peak of more than 120 per week in April, the World Health Organization said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

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