Health workers are facing violence and mistrust in the fight to stop ebola


Kavu Mate was in bed in the Ebola treatment center in Bhutombo, a humpbacked city in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when the rebels came to burn it.

In the dark on February 27, a group of men wielding mats and pistols in the center. Mate woke up at the sound of lightning, but he was attached to dripping and was too weak to move. "I heard someone screaming," brought the matches "," she said, "and then I felt the heat of the fire from my bed."

Luckily, tents were sprawled, where ebola patients were confirmed, but a pharmacy, handwashing station, an archive room and four cars went out. The nurses climbed past the crowd of rubble to save Mateja.

This is just one of a series of attacks on Ebola centers in the oppressed province of North Kivu in the DRC in the past month. As of August 1, the outbreak of disease slowly penetrates through the most variable region in a country that has been confronted with conflicts for more than 20 years and is home to about 120 armed groups.

The new vaccine significantly slowed down the spread of the disease, now the largest outbreak after the West African epidemic, which killed more than 11,000 people in the period 2013-2016.

ebola1 Healthcare workers face violence and mistrust in ebola arrest

On this photo, taken on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 and available on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, health professionals embrace their personal protective equipment before going to the red zone, supported by the Ebola Medecins Treatment Center Sans Frontieres. in Bunia, Congo.

"If there were no vaccine, the disease could have killed thousands so far," said Oly Ilunga, Minister of Health of the DRC.

The ministry together with the World Health Organization (WHO) inoculated more than 80,000 people. Nevertheless, the number of fatalities is 610 and is rising.

Fighting an infectious and deadly virus in a conflict zone is not an easy task. Ebola spreads through body fluids and corpses can be highly contagious.

Finding contact with patients is crucial, but some villages in rebel fortifications are practically impossible to capture. "Today is a health resort called the Vuhovi," said William Perea, head of the WHO incidents. "We have big problems accessing them."

Surveys for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) showed that 43 percent of patients did not have known links with other cases, indicating that it was often impossible to follow the spread of the infection. MSF collaborated with two treatment centers, but after the attacks which were accused of the Mai Mai rebels, they withdrew from Butemba – a general term for many armed groups in the area. The health workers were attacked.

If there were no vaccine, the disease could have killed thousands of people by now

"They hit me with wooden poles and they broke the car," said Gilene Barati, the WHO epidemiologist who pulled out the shirt and uncovered a long cutting. Her team went to you to track down the patient's contacts.

After decades of violence, it is not surprising that people in Bhutan do not trust the authorities. When health teams come up with police escorts, people are attentive.

"For one ill person, there are 10 cars with police and people in masks," says Alexis Kassererka, a mechanic who stays in front of his garage. A friend suggests that the government has spread the disease, a theory that seems quite complicated, until it's added that its people have been slaughtered for years. Grace Mupepe, who bounced off with her newborn baby in front of her home, has another theory: "Ebola is a game that is bought by white people to earn money from us."

Others believe that ebola was imported to prevent them from voting in the presidential election last December.

In such a difficult region, getting communities is the only way to solve the ebola crisis. "We really have to be able to join and participate in this," Perea said.


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