The nearly ten-month Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has killed over 1,500 people, the country’s health ministry has revealed. A total of 1,506 people had died as of Sunday, out of 2,239 recorded cases
The ongoing outbreak in the DRC is the worst in history after the pandemic that killed more than 11,300 people across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014 to 2016.
In response to the devastating outbreak, about 141,000 people have been vaccinated in the affected eastern DRC provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, which are the kernel of the crisis.
However, severe violence and militia activity in the provinces, as well as hostility to health workers among community members, have impeded the response.
On Monday, a crowd of people opposed to the burial of two Ebola victims in the Beni area burnt the vehicle of a health team, AFP reported the local police chief, Colonel Safari Kazingufu as saying. A member of the medical team was injured in the attack.
Earlier this month, the virus claimed two lives in neighbouring Uganda among a family who had travelled to the DRC. Uganda’s Health Minister, Dr Jane Aceng, then later disclosed that the country will be bringing in therapeutic treatment for Ebola virus in collaboration with the WHO. This came after WHO’s Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, met with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni after initially visiting affected areas in the DRC.
The United Nations (UN) in May nominated an emergency coordinator to deal with the crisis in the DRC. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed that the outbreak currently did not represent a global threat.