We Cannot Allow this Needless Suffering to Continue

GENEVA – Thousands of citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo are frightened by the onslaught of attacks upon their lives. They live daily under the threat of warring militias, the second-largest outbreak of Ebola virus ever, and increasing concerns over the spread of cholera and measles.

Citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo are frightened by the onslaught of attacks upon their lives, the second-largest outbreak of Ebola virus ever.

As recent as this morning, 1,994 cases of confirmed and probable Ebola had been reported. At the current rate of 10 new cases every day, that count has likely already exceeded 2,000. More than 1,300 people have died from the Ebola virus this year.

Over 100 healthcare workers have been infected by the virus, including 36 who have died from the disease. The last two infected workers had already been vaccinated, which raises a whole new level of concern. What is more, several healthcare workers have been killed in vicious attacks by rebel gangs who suspect the workers of having staged the epidemic for political reasons. A World Health Organization (WHO) doctor was killed North Kivu province on May 25.

Making matters worse, officials describe the situation as an “unprecedented combination of deadly epidemics” including outbreaks of cholera and measles. Over 10,000 cases have been reported since January 1. More than 240 people have died.

The DRC is not the only place where measles is now being reported. As of May 31, over 98 measles cases had been reported in 26 of the United States since the beginning of the year. The situation in the Congo is much more dire. Over 1,400 of the 80,000 people who have contracted measles in the DRC this year have succumbed to the disease.

The Guardian reported that “It took 224 days for the landmark figure of a thousand confirmed and probable cases (of Ebola) to be reached. But it has taken only 71 days to reach almost 2,000 cases.”

A representative from Mercy Corps explained, “There has never been an epidemic of this complexity or size in the DRC.”

One senior healthcare official summed the Congo situation saying, “We cannot allow this needless suffering to continue.”

While nearly everyone would agree, no one seems to have an answer about how to bring the combined crises to their end. At least, not yet.


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