As it faces its second Ebola outbreak this year, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is bracing itself for what could be the worst outbreak in the nation's history. More than 200 people have died from Ebola since August, and there are currently around 330 reported cases of the virus, CNN says.
On Sunday, the DRC's minister of public health, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, took to Twitter to lament the way paramilitary groups have compromised the nation's ability to control the outbreak. The ongoing conflict has left many in the country displaced. The provinces of North Kivu and Ituri now hold more than 1 million refugees, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
"No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are currently experiencing," the minister said in the video.
Le bilan de cette 10e épidémie d'#Ebola reflète sa complexité. Agressions physiques, destruction de matériel, kidnapping... Voici la réalité de nos équipes qui malgré cela continuent à travailler avec courage & détermination.Ces #HerosDeLaSante méritent toute notre reconnaissance pic.twitter.com/JKLUsGXSB5— Dr. Oly Ilunga (@OlyIlunga) November 11, 2018
According to The Guardian, the fighting is taking the lives of medical professional dispatched to the front lines to fight the virus. Militia forces killed two Congo army medical unit workers in the city of Butembo in late October; insurgents killed 11 civilians and one soldier in the town of Beni on the very same day.
Beni's mayor, Nyonyi Masumbuko Bwanakawa, told the paper it isn't just violence and the virus that are taking lives in the crisis; he said a lack of education and misinformation also cost the DRC lives. According to Bwanakawa, many of his residents are refusing to take the Ebola vaccine and are becoming infected.
“Fighting Ebola is a community responsibility, but some residents go against advice from health officials which makes the rate of the spread of the disease go high,” said Bwanakawa.
WHO expects the outbreak to last at least through the end of 2018 and has staff at the ready should the virus spread to Uganda or Rwanda.
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