- Title: Ebola treatment centres in Congo get military protection after attacks
- Date: 23rd December 2019
- Summary: BIAKATO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DECEMBER 20, 2019) (REUTERS) HEALTH WORKER SPRAYING DISINFECTANT AT THE BIAKATO HOSPITAL PATIENT LYING DOWN IN AN ISOLATION ROOM AN INFANT BEING HANDLED BY MEDICAL STAFF VARIOUS OF MEDICAL STAFF DISINFECTING THEIR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT VARIOUS OF DOCTOR GLORY MUBAKE TALKING TO A MEDIC (SOUNDBITE) (French) DR. GLORY MUBAKE, BIAKATO HOSPITAL, SAYING: "The government increased the number of military and security personnel. Before there were only a few soldiers that we could see passing by, but they were not enough to ensure that all the bases and the whole centre were secure. But today, after the recent attacks, security has been tightened. We now see soldiers and they settled here in Biakato." VARIOUS OF MEDICAL STAFF BEING TRAINED (SOUNDBITE) (French) DR. GLORY MUBAKE, BIAKATO HOSPITAL, SAYING: "For the moment, we can say that it is really reassuring to see the United Nations security forces that we often see passing in armoured vehicles, we feel that we can no longer be attacked without them being able to intervene or support us." BIAKATO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DECEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF THE BIAKATO VILLAGE VARIOUS OF SECURITY FORCES AROUND BAIKATO TOWN VARIOUS OF THE RESPONSE OFFICE WITH HEAVY SECURITY PRESENCE VARIOUS OF UNITED NATIONS EMERGENCY EBOLA RESPONSE COORDINATOR, DAVID GRESSLY TOURING THE FACILITY WITH OTHER OFFICIALS VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS STANDING GUARD (SOUNDBITE) (French) BASE MANAGER, JULES MUMBERE SAYING: "Now that there has been an increase in staff, our offices do not have such a sufficient number of soldiers. But still, it's better now. We hope that security will be improve." VARIOUS OF GRESSLY WITH OTHER OFFICIALS CONSTRUCTION WORK AT THE MONUSCO BASE AS SOLDIERS LOOK ON VIEWS OF MONUSCO MACHINERY IN THE BASE
- Embargoed: 6th January 2020 15:34
- Keywords: Biakato David Gressly WHO ebola epidemic ebola treatment centres
- Location: BIAKATO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
- City: BIAKATO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
- Country: Congo, Democratic Republic of the
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001BB75SUV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Efforts to curb the recent rise in cases of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been given a boost with the posting of military personnel to key treatment centres.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said earlier this month that cases had risen because health care workers were largely cut off from the disease's hotspots since militants attacked their camps.
Twenty-seven Ebola cases were confirmed in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the week through Dec. 10, against an average of seven in the last three weeks, WHO said.
Ebola is highly contagious and spreads through bodily fluids.
Militia fighters in eastern Congo killed four people and wounded several in attacks on two Ebola response centers three weeks ago, in what responders described as a serious setback to efforts to contain the epidemic.
WHO has been using a helicopter as an air bridge to ferry epidemiologists and vaccinators to insecure areas and bring them back the same day. It meant that vaccinations could continue in places like the stricken Biakato mine area in the country's Ituri province.
But what officials hope is a more sustainable solution has been put in place.
"The government increased the number of military and security personnel. Before this there were only a few soldiers that we could see passing by, but they were not enough to ensure that all the bases and the whole centre were secure. But today, after the recent attacks, security has been tightened. We now see soldiers and they settled here in Biakato," said Dr. Glory Mubake who handles Ebola cases at the Biakato hospital.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUSCO) has also increased troops in and around places like Biakato.
David Gressly, the coordinator of the United Nations Emergency Response Office against Ebola and other senior officials were in Biakato over the weekend to assess security and other needs on the ground.
There have been 3,340 Ebola cases including 2,210 deaths in the world's second largest epidemic that was declared in August 2018, WHO figures show.
An Ebola survivor fell ill with the disease for a second time in eastern Congo, the Congolese health authorities said on Sunday, saying it was not yet clear if it was a case of relapse or reinfection.
(Edwin Waita, Djaffar Sabiti, Okwi Okoh)
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