Attacks On Health Workers, Misinformation Continue To Hinder Response To DRC Ebola Outbreak

CIDRAP News: DRC notes 23 new Ebola cases as another hospital attacked
“Over the weekend and through [Monday], the ministry of health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 23 new Ebola cases and 19 deaths, while a Katwa hospital saw a violent attack that left one of the assailants dead. The totals swell outbreak numbers to 1,340 cases, of which 1,274 are confirmed. The number of deaths rose to 874. … The Katwa attack came one day after a hospital attack in Butembo took the life of a World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist deployed to the outbreak region…” (Soucheray, 4/22).

NPR: Armed Groups Are Attacking Health Workers Responding To Ebola Outbreak
“…The biggest obstacle to stopping the outbreak — armed groups who keep attacking health workers. In just the last few days, there were two assaults. Here to tell us more is NPR’s Nurith Aizenman. … ‘I spoke with Dr. Michel Yao, who is leading the Ebola response for the World Health Organization. And he says witnesses in that first attack told him that the gunmen were shouting, Ebola doesn’t exist; you’re just here to make money off of us. And it fits into a larger problem of mistrust in the local population. There have been years of armed conflict in this part of Congo. And people feel victimized by the government. So they don’t trust authorities and, by extension, health workers…'” (Aizenman, 4/22).

Quartz Africa: The killing of a Cameroonian WHO doctor is another setback in DR Congo’s Ebola battle
“The killing of a Cameroonian doctor is a chilling reminder of the difficulties health workers face as they combat the Ebola [outbreak] in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization (WHO), was killed in an attack on Apr. 19 at the university hospital in Butembo in DRC’s North Kivu Province. Two others were injured. His body was flown back home to Cameroon where he is survived by a wife and four young children, the WHO said…” (Asiedu, 4/22).

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