UPDATED 6:09 AM PT — Monday, May 20, 2019
Health care workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have said the Ebola crisis plaguing the country can be resolved if violence in the region stops.
Over the weekend, the International Red Cross warned the Ebola virus could spread to urban areas outside of east DRC due to heightened instability in the region. This comes after the country’s Ministry of Health reported there have been over 1,000 deaths from the virus since 2018.
World Health Organization (WHO) officials said despite having sufficient supplies to stop the epidemic, ongoing violence against health workers have significantly hurt their efforts.
“The situation here in Congo is very different to that of West Africa, first of all. We have the tools to do the job, we have the surveillance, we have the vaccines, and we have a very strong team on the ground working with our ministry of health colleagues. What’s really, really set us back has been just the hugely intense bouts of violence and insecurity.”
— Dr. Michael Ryan, Director of Health Emergencies – WHO
Many experts in the region predict the epidemic may grow larger than the one in 2013, which killed over 11,000 people.