Red Cross: Ebola cases on the rise in DR Congo

AFP

The deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is worsening as trust in the response effort falters, says the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

IFRC’s Director of Health and Care, Emmanuele Capobianco, called it a ‘distressing development’ saying that the virus was spreading faster and many people were no longer seeking care.

“It is clear that some vulnerable communities do not trust Ebola responders.”

According to Capobianco, redoubling efforts to engage with these communities is critical.

“Trust can be built by going community to community, working with local leaders and villagers, listening to their concerns with empathy, and incorporating their feedback and preferences into how we work,” he said.

During the last 21 days (20 March to 9 April 2019), 57 health areas within 11 health zones reported new cases; 40% of the 141 health areas affected to date.

There were also 18 new Ebola cases confirmed on Tuesday – the highest single-day figure in the now eight-month-long outbreak.

DR Congo’s Health Ministry also reported that 10 died people from Ebola on Tuesday, including eight who died in their communities without seeking treatment and support.

Mistrust and security issues have hampered treatment efforts with insecurity and violence leading many agencies being forced to frequently suspend programs.

About two months ago, militants attacked an Ebola treatment center, killing a police officer while in February, two treatment centers were attacked forcing some humanitarian efforts to be put on hold. Following the attacks, several infectious patients were let out.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 9 April, there was a total of 1186 cases confirmed. 751 of those victims died.

A total of 354 patients who received care at Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs) have been discharged.