Friday , April 16 2021

Violence prevents healthcare workers from being unable to stop Ebola in the Congo – Axios

The World Health Organization – is still fighting for the loss of one of the doctors killed in a violent attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo a week ago – and other experts suggest that the Ebola epidemic is likely to continue to spread while the region can not to be safe enough to carry out the necessary steps.

Why it matters: A deadly infectious virus can only be interrupted by monitoring people who may have been in contact with infected patients and taking quarantine and vaccination steps, experts say. But the violence that pierces the region – causing DRC doctors and nurses to end the strike, and the WHO to end some of its activities – puts these efforts at risk.

"This is a sad and terrible situation" says Julie Fischer, program director at the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Sciences and Security.

  • She tells Axios that medical staff has know-how plus new tools as an apparently effective vaccine, but they need to be implemented through Community community efforts and this is not possible when it becomes too unsafe.
  • "This is a combination of a very contagious disease with very contagious violence," Fischer said.

Background: This region regularly faces violence due to armed groups in the area, but also faces impoverishment and neglect.

  • These groups include the Allied Democratic Forces (with possible ties to the Islamic State) and local militia Mayi May, says Steven Morrison, SVP at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "They are looking for different approaches," he adds.
  • Fischer says there is great distrust for the government and foreign organizations, because that area, containing millions of displaced persons, does not receive regular services for their basic needs, such as health care and clean water.
  • "A good number of people believe Ebola is fabricated from outside sources to profit from the DRC," Fischer said.
  • A spokeswoman for the DRC's Health Ministry, Jessica Iluga, says Akios says the majority of the general population is aware of Ebola, but "there is always a small proportion of the population that simply does not want to believe in Ebola, no matter what they see or even and experience it. "

What is happening: It seems that violence has targeted health workers, including an attack last Friday that killed the WHO epidemiologist Richard Musko Kibung and injured two health workers. The DRC has announced its security forces have arrested some of the suspects in the attack.

  • The WHO issued a statement saying that the recent "notable escalation of security incidents" has forced them to end their activities in some of the epidemics hotspots.
  • Some of the increase in case numbers is due to the reduced access of response teams to the affected areas due to insecurity, which means that response measures can not be set up to prevent new infections, "said WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic tells Axios.

in the meantimeDRC doctors and nurses held a march on Wednesday to protest their unsafe conditions, the AP reported, and threatened to strike indefinitely if the situation did not improve.

"It is understood that healthcare workers are concerned about their safety … WHO is just too aware of security after losing a colleague of violent attack last Friday. We stand with them in their call for protection and work together with local authorities to increase security for all, from health workers to patients ".

"Basically, as the health workers themselves have pointed out, community support and engagement are key to supporting the response and especially healthcare professionals."

– Tariq Jasarevic

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