The World Health Organization has said that the efforts at ending the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being hampered by “political games”.
An official of the global health body said on Monday that there is alot of distrust for those from outside the country helping to end the crisis.
WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan told an audience at Geneva’s Graduate Institute that despite these challenges the use of an effective vaccine has stopped the spread of Ebola Beni, Kyondo, Komanda, Tchomia, Mabalako, Mandima and Kayna.
Ryan said “They see (DRC capital) Kinshasa as being as far away as New York. Anyone from more than 5 miles down the road, or maybe sometimes 500 metres, is an outsider”.
They are very distrusting of outside influence. And certainly getting this community on board has been a challenge, and missteps have been made along the way in doing that.”
Fighting between security forces and militia groups have also worsened the crisis.
“There is a lot of political gaming going on in this part of the world – government and opposition and others – and this needs to stop,” Ryan said.
Ebola virus has so far killed over 1,000 people in the past nine months. Those in need of help are not rejecting assistance according to Ryan.
Ryan said “It’s not the family who are rejecting, it’s other elements in the community who have been organised to respond to the ‘outsiders’, be they government or NGOs or others, and that has caused a lot of flashpoints with the teams.”
The DR Congo outbreak only comes second to the outbreak recorded in West Africa. That outbreak was between 2013 and 2016 killing over 11,000 people.
The Ebola virus is transmitted by bats. It was named after the Ebola River when it was detected in DRC.
Ebola leads to internal and external bleeding which can cause damage done to blood vessels.