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Archive for the tag “Joseph Kabila”

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo (16.10.2018)

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called an Emergency Committee meeting on the Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has already claimed around 130 lives.

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 16, 2018 – The WHO has assessed the national and regional risk of the current Ebola outbreak in DRC as “very high,” although the global risk remains low and, so far, the UN’s health watchdog has not called for any trade or travel restrictions to be imposed.

The Emergency Committee, scheduled for Wednesday at WHO headquarters in Geneva, will decide whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the spread of the disease.

This outbreak, the tenth to hit the DRC over the last four decades, was declared in North Kivu Province on 1 August, this year and, based on the worsening security situation in and around the city of Beni, WHO elevated the risk from “high” to “very high” on 28 September.

The agency identified 39 new confirmed cases were reported between 1 and 11 October, 32 of which are from Beni.

The DRC Ministry of Health, WHO and other partners have been responding to the outbreak with teams on the ground, but WHO has warned that continuing insecurity severely affects both civilians and frontline workers, forcing the suspension of the response for several days in late September, and raising the risk that the virus will continue to spread.

More than 20 civilians in Beni were killed in the incident that provoked the suspension, which came on the heels of multiple attacks in previous weeks. It’s estimated by the UN that more than a million civilians under threat from armed groups, are internally-displaced in North Kivu; around 500,000 this year alone. The eastern region is close to the border with Uganda, and Rwanda.

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that one month after the beginning of the school year, 80 per cent of school-aged children have returned to school in Beni and Mabalako health zones, the two epicentres of the Ebola outbreak.  UNICEF has identified more than 1,500 schools in the areas affected by the epidemic.

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Red Cross volunteers injured during Ebola burial in Democratic Republic of the Congo (04.10.2018)

 

Two of the volunteers were seriously wounded and are now receiving medical care for their injuries.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 4, 2018 – Three Red Cross volunteers were injured Tuesday (2 October) when they were attacked while carrying out a safe and dignified burial in the city of Butembo in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Two of the volunteers were seriously wounded and are now receiving medical care for their injuries.

DRC Red Cross teams have faced incidents of violence and aggression from communities resisting safe burial protocols since the start of the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu. In September, one Red Cross volunteer was injured when people threw stones at a vehicle transporting a safe burial team. However, Tuesday’s attack has been the most violent incidence of community resistance to date.

Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Regional Director for Africa said:

“This is an awful reminder of the dangers that these volunteer safe and dignified burials teams face. While we categorically denounce the attack on our colleagues, we understand the fear and frustration that many communities in North Kivu feel right now. People are scared and there are many rumours circulating that only serve to heighten the sense of fear and distrust.

The body of a person who has died from Ebola is highly infectious and if not handled properly can contaminate others. In previous Ebola outbreaks, these safe and dignified burials have been critical to stopping the spread of the disease.

“Every day, our teams are doing what they can to build trust, to provide information, and to help people understand the risk that Ebola presents. They can do this because they come from these communities themselves. They speak the language and understand the customs and traditional beliefs,” said IFRC’s Dr Nafo-Traoré.

The Red Cross has dispatched trained specialists to Butembo to provide immediate psychosocial support to those impacted and is working to improve the safety and security of volunteers.

Grégoire Mateso Mbuta, the President of the Red Cross of the DRC said:

“We call upon the communities in North Kivu to cooperate with volunteers and health workers who are giving their time to ensure that communities are protected from the Ebola outbreak. Local volunteers are critical to stopping the spread of disease.”

Since the beginning of the outbreak, more than 180 specially trained Red Cross safe and dignified burial volunteers have carried out 162 burials in North Kivu.

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