Ebola response in DR Congo 'failing' to contain outbreak: MSF

A Medecins Sans Frontieres facility destroyed by fire./REUTERS

A Medecins Sans Frontieres facility destroyed by fire./REUTERS

In an excoriating attack on the response to the long-running outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo Dr Joanne Liu, global president of Médecins Sans Frontières, said that the current atmosphere in the region was "toxic".

Two of her organization's treatment centers were attacked in the last two weeks, prompting the group to close them.

"Using police to force people into complying with health measures Is not only unethical it's totally counterproductive", she said.

Even after almost seven months, she says more than 40 percent of the deaths are still taking place in communities rather than at Ebola treatment centers.

"Ebola responders are increasingly being seen as the enemy", she said at a news conference in Geneva.

The charity said the epidemic would not end until authorities treated patients as "partners in the response" and increased efforts to "listen to their needs, not preach to or coerce them".

According to a new report, there are more than 900 cases of Ebola in the Congo, causing lots of uncertainty in the region as health officials sluggishly meet people's needs despite newer treatment options that should be available across the nation, according to AXIOS.

"The signs are that Ebola is not under control because within seven months all the indicators are not normal".

The worst-ever outbreak, which was centred in West Africa from 2013 to 2016, killed more than more than 11,000 people.

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Doctors Without Borders president Joanne Liu said: 'The existing atmosphere can only be described as toxic.

Involvement of security and police forces merely deepened suspicions that Ebola was being used as a political tool, she said.

Given numerous security incidents, the ministry said it asked the country's interior ministry to ensure the security of goods, services, and people in the area.

Three Canadians - one doctor and two nurses - were working in those centres but are safe. Local officials, unlike global staffers, did not have the privilege of being evacuated for security reasons, she said.

Ilunga also said efforts to contain the outbreak had proved "quite positive", pointing to success in keeping the disease "relatively contained" geographically.

Six more people died from their infections, including 3 in the community and 3 in ETCs, boosting the outbreak's fatality count to 574.

Liu tells VOA the government is painting the Ebola epidemic as a security emergency.

"That means we do not know how they got it", Liu said.

It has claimed 561 lives out of 894 recorded cases, according the latest DRC health ministry figures. "On the other hand, people with Ebola are dying in their communities, and do not trust the Ebola response enough to come forward".

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