Children at risk in DR Congo Ebola outbreak – UNICEF

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The United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) has lamented the effect that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has had on the country’s children.

The latest outbreak, which now counts 57 probable and confirmed cases, is the country’s 10th since 1976. By 1st August, the death toll stood at 41, and of those, two are children.

According to UNICEF, the Ebola treatment centres in Beni and Mangina are currently treating six children that are infected by the disease or suspected to be. The agency has identified 53 orphaned children who have lost their parents to Ebola.

“The children affected by the ongoing epidemic need special attention and care,” UNICEF Representative in the DR Congo Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano said.

“Women are often the primary caregivers for children, so if they are infected with the disease, there is a greater risk that children and families become vulnerable.”

Rotigliano said the outbreak did not just affect children directly. Some of the affected children lost members of their families and become isolated.

“The impact of the disease on children is not limited to those who have been infected or suspected,” he said. “Many children are faced with the illness or death of their parents and loved ones, while some children have lost large parts of their families and become isolated. These children urgently need our support”.