Ebola deaths feared as UN cautions on spread

25May 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Ebola deaths feared as UN cautions on spread

AUTHORITIES in neighbouring Uganda were yesterday testing blood samples from two people who died in the west of the country of suspected the Ebola virus as the United Nations warned of the risk of spread.

Uganda has been on high alert due to the outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), just across the border from Kagadi where the victims died.

On Thursday the United Nations warned that the risk of Ebola spreading from the DRC to neighbouring countries was very high.

“Amidst a surge in new cases, the epidemic has claimed more than 1,200 lives and threatens to spread to other provinces in the east, as well as neighbouring countries. A third of those infected have been children, a higher proportion than during previous outbreaks,” the UN noted.

UN figures show that up to the middle of this month the number of cases stood at 1,847 (1,759 confirmed and 88 probable). In total, there have been 1,223 deaths (1,135 confirmed and 88 probable) and 487 people have survived the deadly virus.

“The Ebola response is working in an operating environment of unprecedented complexity for a public health emergency—insecurity and political protests have led to periodic disruptions in our efforts to fight the disease,” said the UN’s newly Phase one of the exercise will start on May 27 up to July 20 and will involve grade one, two, three and special contractors, grade one and two, he stated.

The second phase will also last for three months, from August 15 to November 15 and will involve middle and junior contractors namely grade four, five, six and seven as well as special contractors grade two and three, he elaborated.

Although the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have supported DRC government and other humanitarian efforts to contain the virus in parts of Ituri and North Kivu provinces, ongoing insecurity and community mistrust continue to hamper access. This hinders the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Health Ministry from detecting, treating and vaccinating sick people, ultimately leading to more intense Ebola transmission.

The increasingly complex environment has prompted the UN, in partnership with DRC authorities and others, to strengthen its political engagement and operational support to negotiate better access to communities, increase support for humanitarian coordination and bolster preparedness and readiness planning for the Goma region and neighbouring countries. 

For its part, WHO is adapting public health strategies to identify and treat people as quickly as possible, especially by expanding vaccination to encompass more people and redoubling efforts to stem health facility Ebola transmissions.