Wednesday , June 16 2021

Ebola threatens to cross the borders of a Congolese society

The Ebola outbreak proclaimed northeast by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on August 1, continues its unstoppable progress and threatens to spread to neighboring countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already begun last year to vaccinate around 4,200 healthcare professionals in Uganda and southern Sudan, and now the Rwandans join because some of the people who have been in contact with the sick are from Goma. , a border town with this last country. The epidemic, the worst in the history of the DRC, has already reached the figure of 721 cases, of which 446 people have died.

Concern about the possible expansion of the Ebola outbreak in neighboring countries is increasing. On the one hand, the outbreak is still out of control with a special intensity in Butembo, the main affected city, and in the city of Katwa, already in the Virunga National Park, where the latest confirmed cases come from. On the other hand, the first patients have appeared in Kenya's health area, on the road that goes to Goma, and the first contacts in this city, people who have been close to confirmed cases during the contamination phase. of the disease. Goma is the capital of the province of North Kivu and is on the border with Rwanda.

The two major problems faced by the authorities to control this outbreak are the resistance of the population to announce new cases due to rumors and false news and the inaccessibility of large areas of health services due to the presence of numerous rebel groups.

To combat the ill-fated news of the disease, the Congolese Ministry of Health employs dozens of 253 patients who have been cured in awareness-raising campaigns and in caring for the patients they are trying to promote by their own example. "The survivors are a key moment for building trust in the community," said Jamie Le Sueur, head of operations to respond to this outbreak of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

In Uganda, the government and the WHO are launching a program to vaccinate healthcare professionals at the front line in the five areas bordering the DRC in November. A total of 2,100 doses of the rVSV-Ebola vaccine, distributed to about 65,000 people in Congo, both for doctors and nurses, and for direct contacts with confirmed cases, are distributed. The constant movement of the population between the two countries is advisable to take this preventative measure. The drug is still in the experimental phase. It has been developed to combat the outbreak of West Africa in 2014-2015, but the disappearance of the disease in the region does not allow it to be tested, so its current use also serves to check its effectiveness in the real case. Emilio de Benito.

Similarly, on December 19 in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, a vaccination campaign began with a total of 2160 doses distributed between healthcare staff accompanied by the first phase of training. The Congo province in Ituri, where there were cases, shares a border with this country. This country, plus Rwanda and Uganda, is at a high level of "high risk" that Ebola will penetrate their territories, according to the WHO.

Geneva's spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib, has stressed this week's reduction in Benny's case, epicenter of the epidemic, but has admitted that infections come from hidden chains to be transferred to other areas, as well as the deaths of people who are not on the lists tracking. "The steps we took in Benny have had an impact, but unfortunately we see how cases occur in other areas," he said.

Congolese Health Minister Olli Ylunga Callegga has recently described this epidemic as "the most complex in the world," adding that "without the rich experience of our experts and without the availability of medicines, we would have come to a scenario like that of the West Africa epidemic. took place between 2014 and 2016 and caused more than 11,000 deaths, the worst for the whole story.Ilunga highlighted the intensive population mobility in the affected areas and the presence of dozens of armed groups in them.

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