Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss DRC’s Ebola Outbreak, International, Local Responses

Bloomberg: Congo’s Ebola Outbreak Isn’t Just Congo’s Problem
Editorial Board

“…President Donald Trump has failed to respond [to the Ebola outbreak] with urgency. … If [the] possibility [of Ebola spreading throughout Africa] is unpersuasive, there’s also a risk to the U.S.: Regional turmoil is enlarging the trickle of refugees from Congo showing up at the southern border. The U.S. should lift restrictions on aid … and help CDC deploy its skills. It should spur a new global effort — partnering for this purpose with China, Congo’s biggest foreign investor. To be sure, this emergency presents severe difficulties. … This underlines the need to combine an effective emergency response with stronger pressure for political reform and better government. Greater support for the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission would help; the administration’s reflexive effort to wind it down will not. … The U.S. can’t solve Congo’s problems, but it can’t afford to ignore them, either” (8/1).

New Humanitarian: We can’t stop Congo’s Ebola outbreak until communities lead the response
Amy Daffe, deputy country director for Mercy Corps in the Democratic Republic of Congo

“…We are only going to succeed in stopping the expansion of this epidemic by treating the communities as partners … We need to engage local leadership, including local chiefs, and bring community groups on board with community conversations targeting caretakers and groups vulnerable to the virus, and train them on the use of education materials, early warning mechanisms, and conflict rumor resolution. We know that Ebola is endemic in Congo. The systems and awareness we establish now will not only saves lives currently but also in the years to come. Only when communities are at the forefront of the response — with preparation, training, tools, support, and funding — will we be able to end this epidemic” (8/1).

The BMJ: Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: time for visionary political leadership
Giuseppe Ippolito, scientific director at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani, and colleagues

“… [L]ocal communities’ distrust of national authorities, aid groups, and U.N. peacekeepers is a continuing challenge. … In Africa, it seems that responsive public health systems are difficult to sustain unless long-term political commitment and planning, combined with adequate financial resources, are taken on board by countries with the help of global public health bodies. Right now, the situation in the DRC needs WHO, Africa CDC, WHO AFRO, USAID, DFID, the European Commission, and other donor agencies, together with national and regional decision makers, to engage effectively with community leaders to ensure that the trust of the population is gained” (8/2).

Deutsche Welle: Opinion: Ebola in Congo — incompetence, mistrust and greed
Dirke Köpp, head of DW’s French service for Africa

“This Thursday mark[ed] a sad anniversary. One year ago, on August 1, 2018, the Ebola epidemic broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). … Although there is considerable aid from abroad, the Congolese government has shown little interest in helping those of its citizens affected by the virus. … However, the people living in the regions affected by Ebola are also contributing to the failure to bring the outbreak to an end. Many are poorly educated, and distrust modern medicine and the foreigners who have come to help. … Many of the country’s decision-makers are also poorly educated and not sufficiently informed in order to do their role justice. … It’s regrettable that the World Health Organization took such a long time to declare an international emergency, waiting until mid-July, almost a year after the outbreak began…” (8/1).