Ebola crisis: Health worker killed by mob as doctors warn of ‘unprecedented’ situation

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
By Paul Martin

A HEALTH worker has been killed after a mob attack on an Ebola treatment centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo – the latest in a series of alarming incidents which has also resulted in the death of a World Health Organisation (WHO) doctor in recent weeks.

Tue, May 28, 2019

Meanwhile, a massive programme of vaccination against cholera is underway in the country, which health officials say is facing an “unprecedented combination of deadly epidemics with the county also dealing with the ongoing Ebola outbreak plus numerous cases of measles”. The worker was killed on Saturday in North Kivu province by a mob which attacked a local response team, looted the centre and burned down three houses. A statement issued by the country’s Ministry of Health on Sunday said: “”Part of the population of Vusahiro village, in the Mabalako health zone (North Kivu, east), has attacked the local Ebola response team.

“A hygienist from the prevention and control team died when he was being transferred to the hospital.

In addition, the Vulamba health centre, in the health zone of Butembo, was vandalised overnight on Saturday, the statement added.

The DRC is currently reeling from the impact of the second-worst outbreak of Ebola in history, with the number of confirmed cases as of Sunday standing at 1920, of whom 1,281 have died.

The unstable political situation in DRC coupled with mistrust within the community has resulted in a challenging situation for health workers in the country, the WHO has acknowledged.

To compound matters still further, more 10,000 cases of cholera have been reported in the country since January 2019, leading to more than 240 deaths.

In addition, over 80,000 suspected cases of measles have led to over 1,400 deaths so far this year while a case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 was reported in Kasai province earlier this month.

A total of 835,183 people in the areas of Binza, Goma, Kayina, Karisimbi, Kibirizi, Kirotshe and Rutshuru will be inoculated by Saturday (June 1), by which time the campaign will have administered the first of two doses of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) to people in these areas.

The second dose will be offered at a later stage in an effort to provide full protection against cholera.

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