: Ebola in the Congo: a forgotten conflict became a danger to world health
Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka, post-doctoral researcher at Université Catholique de Louvain
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ebola epidemic as a ‘public health emergency of international concern.’ … According to governmental and non-governmental organizations fighting the epidemic, the spread of Ebola is facilitated by the nature of the virus as well as how the response is being organized and managed. But there are also contextual reasons, often neglected, for why it’s spread: the existence of conflict and violence in certain parts of the country. … When the Congolese Health Minister, Oly Ilunga, resigned in July, he claimed that there was a war of pharmaceutical companies trying to introduce an experimental vaccine. He also castigated NGOs, claiming that their interventions were uncoordinated and that they withheld information in a race for funding. These factors make Ebola a political problem, and demonstrate that millions of dollars may not be enough to organize an effective response. If the international community does not seriously commit to finding a security solution to the situation in Beni, Ebola may be eradicated — but other dangers could still emerge in this zone and threaten public health and the security of the region” (9/9).
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