Resistance to World Health Organization Ebola efforts


in Politics, Psychology, Science

Another case of conspiratorial thinking, selfish politicians, and conflict threatening to make a deadly serious threat into a dire global emergency:

Pockets of “reluctance, refusal and resistance” to accept Ebola vaccination were generating many of the new cases, Salama said.

“We also see a very concerning trend. That resistance, driven by quite natural fear of this terrifying disease, is starting to be exploited by local politicians, and we’re very concerned in the run up to elections, projected for December, that that exploitation… will gather momentum and make it very difficult to root out the last cases of Ebola.”

Some people were fleeing into the forest to escape Ebola follow-up treatment and checks, sometimes moving hundreds of kilometers, he said.

There was one such case to the south of Beni, and another to the north, close to the riverbanks of Lake Albert. Both were inaccessible for security reasons.

Neighboring Uganda was now facing an “imminent threat”, and social media posts were conflating Ebola with criticism of the DRC government and the United Nations and “a range of conspiracy theories”, which could put healthworkers at risk.

Ebola was a particular fear of mine in childhood, and it remains very worrisome and uncomfortable where we now live in a world where periodic outbreaks are now treated largely as business as usual.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

. September 25, 2018 at 10:56 am


Update on Ebola

. October 1, 2018 at 1:45 pm

Risk of Ebola’s spread from Congo ‘very high’, WHO says

Some patients have left health facilities to seek alternative care, WHO said in a statement on Thursday. One infected person moved into a “red zone” where security is poor and carrying out Ebola response efforts is “extremely difficult, if not impossible.”

The virus moved near the Uganda border after a woman who had participated in burials of Ebola victims refused a vaccination in Beni and disappeared, local officials have said. She died on Sept. 20 at a hospital in Tshomia on Lake Albert, which separates the countries.

The second confirmed Ebola case in Tshomia was the woman’s partner, WHO said.

The U.N. refugee agency on Friday said it was “gravely concerned” for civilians’ safety in North Kivu, which has the highest number of displaced people in Congo with an estimated more than 1 million.

In August about 13,000 people fled their homes in the Beni area alone because of insecurity, the refugee agency said. Meanwhile some 200 refugees from Congo are arriving each day in Uganda, a “tiny fraction” of the everyday flow of traders and others between the countries, it said.

. October 25, 2018 at 10:09 am

Wave of rebel attacks leads to surge in DRC Ebola cases

Disease outbreak centres on North Kivu and Ituri, amid calls for intensified response

. December 5, 2018 at 6:45 pm

When a young woman living near Beni came down with a fever, a nurse told her to go to the clinic for a test. But by the time the Ebola virus was detected in her blood, she was in a car bumping her way towards Kalungata, an area controlled by the Mai-Mai, a plundering, raping militia. She probably fled because of a widespread belief that people go to clinics to die. Beni is the epicentre of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak.

A week later a cluster of Ebola cases cropped up in a village close to where the woman was hiding. It took three days of talks with a Mai-Mai chief before vaccination teams were allowed in. This was too late. The vaccine does not work on those who already have symptoms, which can appear within 48 hours of infection. The disease, which causes copious bleeding, spread to 45 people in the area, killing 23.

The overall toll from this outbreak stands at 241, making it Congo’s third-deadliest and the world’s fourth-largest. Congo, with its long experience of battling the virus—it had one of the world’s first recorded outbreaks in 1976—is seen as a model for the way in which it isolates and treats people to break transmission. But this outbreak, its tenth, is proving harder to contain. The problem is that Ebola is spreading to areas rife with machete-wielding rebels. Fighting has driven more than 1m people from their homes in the provinces affected by the outbreak.

. February 8, 2019 at 7:12 pm

‘Whack-a-mole’ Ebola outbreak could morph from epidemic to endemic, says expert

Laurie Garrett explains how infected militants are making disease hard to contain

. February 28, 2019 at 10:52 pm

Doctors Without Borders forced to close Ebola clinics in Congo after attacks

2 of the organization’s clinics have been targeted in the past week

. September 1, 2019 at 7:57 pm

Clinics and health workers fighting Ebola in Congo have been attacked roughly 200 times this year. To outsiders, such violence makes no sense. The clinics not only treat the sick, they also curb the spread of a virus that causes fever, bleeding and death. The current outbreak in Congo is the second-worst ever, anywhere. Some 2,700 cases have been recorded, and 1,700 people have died of it. On July 17th the World Health Organisation declared it a global emergency, citing fears that it might surge into neighbouring Uganda, Rwanda and lawless South Sudan. Donor-funded clinics and vaccines are the world’s best defence against Ebola. Alas, many Congolese do not see it that way.

After years of kleptocracy and civil war, they expect only abuse from their government. Having been pillaged by nine foreign armies, they distrust outsiders. So when aid workers arrived in Butembo, many locals did not see them as saviours. Rather, they saw strangers in fancy four-wheel-drive cars. They assumed that these people were getting rich dishonestly, because that is what the powerful do.

About 40% of locals do not believe Ebola exists, says Justus Nseo, the co-ordinator of the Ebola response in Butembo. Some local politicians help spread this dangerous myth.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: