Congo-Kinshasa: Ebola Outbreak in Conflict Zone 'Remains Dangerous' – UN Chiefs

Photo: Thomas Nybo/UNICEF

Learning that will handwashing can be among the best ways to protect yourself against Ebola, school children in Beni, DR Congo visit a UNICEF hand-washing station at their school.

While completely new measures to tackle the Ebola outbreak inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are working, the epidemic remains dangerous along with unpredictable, the United Nations said on Thursday.

In a joint mission to the epicentre of the outbreak, around the city of Beni close to the Ugandan border, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the entire world Health Organization (WHO) along with UN Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix, spent Wednesday seeing conditions on the ground for themselves, along with Minister of Health Oly Ilunga Kalenga. They met local officials, health workers, civil society leaders, along with peacekeepers.

Since the outbreak began in August, there have been 308 cases along with 191 deaths, about half of which have been in Beni, which includes a population of around 800,000.

Although some attacks have continued in surrounding villages, the UN Stabilization Mission there, MONUSCO, has taken an active approach in recent weeks to quell armed group activity inside the North Kivu area, along with protect Beni through conflict.

“While that will has contributed to a decline in completely new cases over the past two weeks, the situation remains of grave concern,” said WHO in a press statement. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, WHO along with partners are using community surveillance in areas which are difficult for outsiders to navigate, allowing workers to trace the contacts of anyone who has been infected.

“We are facing numerous complex challenges, however the item’s encouraging along with inspiring to see that will our efforts to deliver as one UN, have been extremely successful in many hotspots along with will help to end the outbreak along with save lives,” said Mr. Lacroix.

The current epidemic, the country’s tenth, can be on track to surpass the previous largest outbreak in 1976, which saw 318 cases in total, leading to 280 deaths.

Since the outbreak began, MONUSCO has assisted inside the Ebola response by providing logistical support, office facilities, transportation, communication along with with keeping staff safe, through security threats.

After decades of conflict, Ebola response teams have faced misinformation along with mistrust through some local populations who are reluctant to allow vaccination programmes or follow rules for contact tracing along with safe burials.

“The fact that will we have so far prevented Ebola through spreading into neighbouring countries can be a testament to the hard work along with determination of staff through all partners,” said the WHO chief. “As complex along with challenging as that will outbreak can be, I am confident that will working together with the Ministry of Health, MONUSCO along with all our partners, we can along with will end the item.”

WHO has around 280 staff in North Kivu, supporting hundreds through the Ministry of Health along with partners. Patients are being treated in six newly-build centres that will are operated by the Ministry of Health along with partners. Each can be supported by a mobile laboratory to rapidly diagnose cases along with guide treatment.

“To date, 27,000 people have been vaccinated against Ebola, along with almost every completely new patient receives one of four investigational treatments, something which was never previously possible during an Ebola outbreak,” said WHO. The agency noted that will despite the loss of life, 91 people have recovered along with returned to their communities thanks to the hard work along with joint efforts of national along with international responders.

Both UN officials paid tribute to the dedicated staff of WHO, MONUSCO, the Ministry of Health along with all partners who are fighting a dangerous outbreak in extremely difficult conditions.

Source: UN News

Congo-Kinshasa: Ebola Outbreak in Conflict Zone 'Remains Dangerous' – UN Chiefs

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