‘Deepening Mistrust’ Threatens Response To DRC Ebola Outbreak, MSF Warns

Al Jazeera: ‘Toxic’ atmosphere undermining DRC Ebola outbreak response: MSF
“The battle to beat Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is failing, medical charity Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials, MSF) has warned, with health workers unable to bring the epidemic under control amid ‘a climate of deepening community mistrust.’ Seven months into the largest-ever outbreak of the deadly virus in the DRC, ‘various political, social, and economic grievances’ and an overly militarized response are impeding efforts to combat its spread, MSF said in a statement on Thursday…” (Child, 3/7).

New York Times: The Battle Against One of the Worst Ebola Epidemics Ever Is in Trouble
“… ‘Ebola responders are increasingly being seen as the enemy,’ Dr. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, said at a news conference in Geneva on Thursday. ‘In the last month alone, there were more than 30 different incidents and attacks against elements of the response. The existing atmosphere can only be described as toxic,’ she said…” (Grady/Wembi, 3/7).

STAT: Doctors Without Borders fiercely criticizes Ebola outbreak control effort
“… ‘We’re not sure that if we keep doing what we’re doing [it] will lead us to the end of things,’ Liu said in a press conference in Geneva, where MSF is based. Relying more heavily on security backup from local police, the Congolese Army, or United Nations peacekeepers in the region is increasing the perception that the Ebola response workers are ‘the enemy,’ Liu warned. ‘The use of coercion adds fuel to this. Using police to force people into complying with health measures is not only unethical, it’s totally counterproductive,’ she said. ‘The communities are not the enemy. Ebola is the common enemy’…” (Branswell, 3/7).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola response and MSF press conference is available from the Associated Press, CIDRAP News, Reuters, and UPI.

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