WHO Condemns Arson Attack on Ebola Treatment Centre in Eastern DR Congo


GOMA – An arson attack on Ebola treatment centre at Katwa district in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) that left one survivor of the deadly virus dead has been condemned by World Health Organization (WHO).

Medicins Sans Frontieres who run the treatment centre said other people were injured during the attack by unknown people.

Following the attack, volunteers and MSF staff fighting the deadly disease were evacuated out of the Ebola epicentre of Katwa.

The World Health Organisation has said aid workers faced mistrust in some areas, fuelled by false rumours about treatment and preference for traditional medicine.

“As a result of the burning of the building, it is no longer possible to care for patients there,” MSF officials said on Twitter.

In a tweet posted Monday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization said he was saddened to hear about attack in Katwa.

“Very concerning reports that someone died. Attacks like this could undo the progress we have made. Despite this setback, we will keep working with the government, partners and communities to end this outbreak,” Dr Tedros said.

Latest figures from Congolese ministry of health said 546 people have died from Ebola, with most of the cases reported in Katwa.

This is not the first attack on volunteers attempting to help the victims of Ebola. In October last year, three volunteers with the Congolese Red Cross were attacked as they helped with the burial of an Ebola victim in eastern DR Congo.

Katwa and Butembo both in the east remain the major health zones of concern, while simultaneously; small clusters continue to occur in various geographically dispersed locations.

However, no new cases have been reported from Beni in the last three weeks. This is a significant achievement given the previous intensity of the outbreak in this area.

To complement ongoing response activities, the Ministry of Health is establishing a Strategic Coordination Centre in Goma.

The new Centre will support the coordination and monitoring of the operations in close collaboration with sub-coordination teams working across all affected areas.

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