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Ebola: The effects of militant attacks in the DR Congo

  DR Congo soldiers escort health workers

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DR Congo soldiers escort health workers

Health teams responding to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said their efforts were significantly hampered by attacks on medical personnel.

The virus has spread mainly in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, which are occupied by North Korea's rebel and militia groups, in which the government has limited presence.

"The distrust and violent attacks against the Ebola reaction [teams] show no sign of abating," says the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Wherever attacks took place and why are health professionals being attacked?

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking attacks on health professionals and health facilities [1

9659007] This year DR Congo experienced the greatest successes with 174 compared to 41 in Afghanistan and 35 in Syria.

These include attacks on medical centers, health workers, patients and means of transport. [196590] 15] Attacks on health care in the DR Congo in 2019

According to the WHO, five deaths were recorded this year, with 51 reported injuries.

Threats and attacks range from throwing stones at healthcare professionals to attacking and burning medical buildings.

Why are Ebola workers being attacked?

There is evidence of a lack of confidence among the local population in advising on the Ebola outbreak and the intentions of foreign aid workers.

A 2018 study published in the Lancet Medical Journal states that belief in misinformation related to the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu was widespread.

One in four respondents believed in the statement that Ebola does not exist, with an even higher proportion "There has been some unrest in the region, and that is even worse when a foreign response comes to a heavily guarded area is, "says author Lara Salahi who wrote about answers to Ebola outbreaks.

In North Kivu, community-based militia groups called Mai-Mai have made some attacks on health centers and workers.

Another militia group, the Allied Forces (Ugandan rebels operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), was also accused of disrupting the medical units.

There were also a number of attacks by other unidentified groups on Ebola reaction centers.

In one incident, family members attacked health workers who monitored their relative's funeral last month.

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International aid agencies have acknowledged that they have not won the trust of the local population, and given the very uncertain environment, the extent of the community's mistrust is understandable.

"What we do know is that the actors in the Ebola response – including MSF – have not gained the confidence of a significant portion of the population," said Meinie Nicolai, MSF Director General in February.

In an atmosphere of widespread rumors and misinformation, people may be reluctant to seek help and take action to control the virus.

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