Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga has warned that the second-deadliest outbreak of Ebola may get out of control unless attacks by armed groups on medical facilities and workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) stop.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly, which is underway this week in the Swiss city, Kalenga said:
The real emergency we face right now is security.
Each time there is an attack on a health facility or medical personnel, the response to the epidemic is put on hold and we lose precious time to stop the virus from spreading further.
Kalenga’s comments are in resonance with concerns by the world’s health authorities. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said:
We are fighting one of the world’s most dangerous viruses in one of the world’s most dangerous areas.
This outbreak is one of the most complex health emergencies any of us have ever faced.
Unless we unite to end this outbreak, we run the very real risk that it will become more widespread, more expensive and more aggressive.
Kalenga dismissed the suggestion that the attacks may hide a political agenda. He believes there are some elements who just want to see the government’s response to the epidemic fail.
The virus killed over 11 000 people between 2014 and 2016 when it broke out in West Africa.
More: The Chronicle