Home / Health / Fight against Ebola in the Congo complicated by war and suspicion about the vaccine

Fight against Ebola in the Congo complicated by war and suspicion about the vaccine



There is a football field with battered-looking goals across the street from the city hospital in Beni, but nobody will play football there for a while.

Instead, this small portion of land has become a mass of rising activity, while 330 workers build a rapid-construction emergency health facility.

The wooden structures now taking shape are part of an increasingly desperate attempt by a multinational and multi-agency team to control the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.



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Video:
Through the eyes of an Ebola doctor.

More than 300 people have been infected with this highly contagious virus and the city's only Ebola treatment center, run by the medical charity ALIMA, is overwhelmed.

On the day of our visit, 92 people were admitted, but the center only has 60 beds.

Pascale
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Baby Pascale was one of the declared free of Ebola and discharged from the center.

The new complex, which is funded by Medecins Sans Frontieres, will analyze what experts call "suspicious cases" and should help reduce some of the pressure.

However, this epidemic will soon be classified as the worst Ebola outbreak in Congo's history.

The government and its international partners rely on local surveillance and vaccination teams to prevent it from spreading.

:: Doctors "under pressure" struggling to deal with the Ebola outbreak in the Congo

He takes a 46-year-old woman who died from the virus.
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He takes a 46-year-old woman who died from the virus.

The idea is quite simple: locate all the people who have been in contact with an Ebola victim and provide them with a new available vaccine developed in Canada.

It has not been approved by the main health authorities, but it has proven to be effective in the first trials.

However, there is a problem with the plan. First, many residents of the city do not want to be tracked and, second, they do not want the vaccine.

Ebola
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When Sky visited 92 people were admitted but the center only has 60 beds.

I spoke with the leader of one of these community surveillance units, Dr. Maneno Muhindangabo Henry, and asked him if he was encountering resistance.

"That's really our breakfast every day," he said.

"Many people reject the vaccine and talk a lot about it, they say that if you take it you will become infertile, it will kill you, it has negative effects."

Dr. Henry's comments are a great reason why this outbreak is so unpredictable. Many here simply refuse to protect themselves.



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Video:
Full report: doctors fight against the Ebola outbreak in the Congo

Beni resident James Kituvi told me that some of his neighbors claim that the vaccine is satanic.

"They think they're going to be killed," he said. "The vaccine is from Satan."

There is another reason why the Congolese government and international NGOs have found it so difficult to deal with this epidemic.

Beni is in a war zone. The consequence of armed rebellion and ethnic murders dating back to the 1990s; Two separate rebel militias, called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the "Mai Mai", make frequent incursions into the city.

Two weeks ago, a militia attack killed 13 civilians and kidnapped 12 children from the city.

The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told Sky News that he has never had to deal with such a complicated epidemic.

"The situation with this outbreak is very different from other outbreaks," he said.

More from Democratic Republic of the Congo

"Even the outbreak of West Africa (2014-2015) because there is a serious security problem here, an active army conflict and that complicates the situation."

The risk is obvious. In a desperately unstable environment, the Ebola virus spreads and the Beni outbreak becomes an international contagion.


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