DR Congo registers record 1,000 Ebola deaths

DR Congo registers record 1,000 Ebola deaths

May 4, 2019
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DR Congo health ministry has revealed that the current outbreak of the Ebola epidemic has so far claimed more than 1,000 lives.

The epidemic that began in August last year has become the second deadliest in the country’s history.

According to the deputy director of World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Michael Ryan, mistrust and violence have accelerated the spread of Ebola and efforts to tackle it have been harmed.

Dr. Ryan says that 119 attacks on medical centers and staff have been registered in Eastern DRC since January.

There is still plenty of vaccines held by health workers according to Dr. Ryan but the presence of militants in the region has led to violence while mistrust of doctors has been another big hindrance. Dr. said that despite all the challenges, health workers have given treatment to over 100,000 people.

“we still face issues of community acceptance and trust,” he said.

In addition to Ebola, DR Congo is also battling with the measles outbreak that has so far killed over 1,000 victims and 50,000 cases have been reported. Health works from WHO reported that they have confirmed measles in 14 out of the country’s 26 provinces in both villages and towns.

Violence has made it hard to monitor the spread of Ebola that has so far been contained in within two provinces. There is a high risk of the epidemic spreading to neighboring countries though the risk of a global spread is low according to WHO.

The DR Congo Ebola outbreak is now second in history in terms of growing for a long period after exceeding eight months since it began in August. Only the outbreak in West Africa that last went on between 2013 and 2016 and killed 11,310 people supersedes the DR Congo outbreak.

By Sunday, a record of 126 new cases were confirmed in just seven days and WHO warned that health officials were anticipating continued intense transmission basing on this data.

The Spokeswoman of DR Congo health ministry Jessica Ilunga attributed the sharp increase in Ebola cases to attacks on health workers and the disruption of response activities in recent weeks.

“Security has been a big issue, and every time we have an accident. Essential response activities such as contact tracing, vaccination and safe burials are suspended for an indefinite period of time, giving time and space for the virus to spread,” said Ilunga.