Battle to combat Ebola outbreak in the Congo ‘is failing’ as death toll passes 1,200 mark and damning figures show 100 people a week are catching the killer virus

Friday, May 24, 2019
By Paul Martin

The Ebola epidemic in the central African nation is getting worse by the month
Health workers are refusing to wear protective gear out of fear of being attacked
Families are angry they cannot bury their dead relatives in traditional manners
Around one in every four deaths recorded has happened in the past three weeks

24 May 2019

The bid to stop combat Ebola in Democratic Republic of the Congo is failing as the outbreak shows signs of spiralling out of control, experts have warned.

Grieving locals are angry they can’t have normal funerals for dead family members because victims have to be buried by well-protected medical workers.

Disrupting traditions is turning people against aid efforts and more than 100 new cases of Ebola are now being diagnosed every week, figures show.

More than 1,200 people have died in the outbreak since it began in August, with 337 of those deaths – a quarter of the total – in the first three weeks of May alone.

Experts said the World Health Organization needs to up its game in the fight against the devastating virus.

But the UN’s health agency faces ever-evolving obstacles to helping people – last week’s situation report revealed even healthcare workers are refusing to wear proper protection when in medical camps.

‘The current approach to the Ebola epidemic in DRC is failing to control and contain the spread of the disease,’ said Whitney Elmer, a director of the non-governmental organisation Mercy Corps.

‘Over the past few weeks we’ve heard time and again that the response needs a rethink – now with over 100 new Ebola cases a week, it is time for a change in approach.’

Mercy Corps wants the WHO to activate its Scale-Up Protocol for the Control of Infectious Disease (IASC).

This would effectively mean the WHO taking control of the situation and pumping in more aid workers and supplies from other countries and organisations.

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