Thursday, 04 June, 2020


Ebola workers killed in troubled eastern D.R. Congo

FILE 2019 Health workers dressed in protective gear begin their shift at an Ebola treatment center in Beni Congo DRC Ebola workers killed in troubled eastern D.R. Congo
Patty Aguilar | 01 December, 2019, 17:12

This is not the first time that health workers trying to contain the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history have been targeted.

A member of the vaccination team that provides Ebola vaccine for communities was killed, two drivers and a police officer totalled the four that died.

WHO's emergencies director Dr. Mike Ryan, however, said neither the attackers' identities nor their motivation had been confirmed but it was "unmistakably a directed attack at the response". The most serious complications include blindness, brain swelling, diarrhoea, and severe respiratory infections.

In a phone call with journalists Thursday, he said there have been 386 attacks against health care workers, resulting in seven deaths and 77 injuries, with this most recent attack being "by far the deadliest".

"It is a blow to the Ebola response because we were eradicating the disease".

"The last strongholds of the virus were in these areas", WHO's Ryan said.

The violence killed four workers responding to the Ebola outbreak and injured five others, at a camp in Biakato Mines, and an Ebola response coordination office, World Health Organization said in a statement. Several days this month, zero cases were reported.

"The same can be said. for the measles response, not just in Beni but across the entire country", he said.

"Ebola was retreating. These attacks will give it force again, and more people will die as a outcome", said Dr Tedros.

Residents accuse Congolese and United Nations forces of not doing enough to protect civilians from the rebels who fight for control of the region's vast mineral wealth. Previously, cases had increased after attacks from health workers and sanitary facilities.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited the town on Sept 1.

Despite all this, the WHO has vowed to continue to work with the DRC government and partners to ensure the security for the staff and all health workers, and to find solutions to continue to respond and to end the outbreak.

Vast tracts of eastern DRC are in the grip of armed groups, especially a shadowy militia called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

Warnings had been posted earlier demanding that the health workers leave or face "the worst", the official said.

The highly contagious and deadly virus is largely spread through close contact with the bodily fluids of infected people.

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