Opinion

Ebola Virus a threat in the region

By: Victoria Mijo Timothy

It is now one year since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) marked it first anniversary since the start of the 10th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It is important that the World Health Organization (WHO), the government of the DRC, other United Nations (UN) agencies, partners and communities, continue with further scale up response and preparedness measures. Otherwise, the outbreak has become the biggest threat in the region.

As of 29 July 2019, the Ministry of Health of the DRC has reported 2687 cases (2 593 confirmed and 94 probable) with 1 803 deaths and over 770 survivors.

There is fear that the deadly virus in DRC could spread to surrounding countries. In June two Ebola fatalities were confirmed in Uganda, after the victims returned from a funeral in DRC. South Sudan, Kenya and Rwanda have also been on high alert for signs that the virus may have entered the country.

As the world considered the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as the second largest outbreak in history, it is unfortunate that some communities in DRC are not coordinating with the health works. Several Ebola response centers, health works and volunteers have been attacked in DRC which may worsen if such attacks against the health personnel is not stopped.

The government of DRC needs to provide protection to the health workers who serve the community. In fact these health works have already sacrificed their lives by going to work in such as risky places and it makes no sense to kill someone who has travelled thousands miles to spot the spread of Ebola Virus Disease in the DRC and to neighboring  countries.

The conflict in DRC has made the health system in the country very weak. The security situations have complicated the Ebola response. Safely accessing those in need and gaining acceptance by communities, some of whom are distrustful of outsiders after years of conflict, have been the major challenges in this response.

Nevertheless, the WHO and the partners need vote of thanks. The responses have made some achievement despite the difficult conditions in which WHO and partners are operating in DRC for the last one year.

Therefore, EVD has become a threat in the region hence there is need for real coordination within neighboring to win the war so that it does run out of control.

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