In the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the second worst Ebola epidemic in the history of the virus has been raging since July 2018. So far it has infected almost 3200 people, killing over 2100 (data updated to 16 September). In spite of the existence of a vaccine that has proved to be effective concerning minor outbreaks, the number of new cases has been growing constantly (at an average rate of 20 a day).
The DRC health authorities cannot manage to contain the epidemic, after having been effectively left to fend for themselves following the evacuation of all the Western personnel of Médecins Sans Frontiéres after attacks on two hospitals run by the NGO. The greatest challenges healthcare workers face include the obstinacy of the local population that insists on believing that the virus does not exist or that it was an invention by the Kinshasa government to prevent them from voting in presidential elections, and above all the hostility from the militias engaged in a 25-year civil war, some of these have turned their guns also on health personnel.
The fear is that, should conditions worsen, the epidemic could spread beyond the country’s borders into Uganda (where some cases have already been recorded along with the first two victims) and Rwanda and turn into a fully-fledged pandemic.
( 2019 )