Ebola Epidemic in DRC Out of Control as Death Toll Rises - MSF

Doctors Without Borders hampered by violence in responding to Ebola in Congo

MSF condemns 'militarised' response to Ebola outbreak

The statement comes after on 1 August the DRC Ministry of Health declared a new outbreak in North Kivu Province.

At least 569 people have died among the 907 confirmed and probable cases, according to the World Health Organization.

"The use of coercion adds fuel to this, using police to force people into complying with health measures is not only unethical, it is totally counterproductive", she said.

"We have a striking contradiction: on the one hand a rapid and large outbreak response with new medical tools such as vaccines and treatments that show promising outcomes when people come early - and on the other hand, people with Ebola are dying in their communities, and do not trust the Ebola response enough to come forward", said International President of MSF, Dr. Joanne Liu.

"Ebola is a brutal disease, bringing fear and isolation to patients, families, and healthcare providers", Liu said.

"That means that we have not reached them, and they have not sought our care", Liu said. It does not work, if the police and the army people wanted to force you to adhere to health regulations.

Liu said the problem is exacerbated by heavy-handed DRC government tactics that amount to dragging reluctant villagers into medical centers for involuntary treatment. More than 40 per cent of the deaths are still taking place in communities rather than at Ebola treatment centres, according to the group, also known by its French acronym MSF.

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The DRC's current outbreak has seen no new cases registered within 21 days in about half of the 19 health zones affected by the epidemic, Jasarevic told Al Jazeera, adding the figures provided authorities with a cause for "cautious optimism". "Then they see their possessions burned", she said.

Given numerous security incidents, the ministry said it asked the country's interior ministry to ensure the security of goods, services, and people in the area.

She insisted that responders needed to listen more to people's needs and concerns, and try to offer safe alternatives to those unwilling to be isolated away from their families for long periods of time in treatment centres.

And others were angered by the obvious influx of global money to help halt the spread of Ebola as people continue to die from common diseases like malaria due to lack of treatment. As a result of such violence, the "Ebola response [is] failing to gain the upper hand on the epidemic", the organization says in a press release.

"That means we do not know how they got it", Liu said.

Congo has seen periodic outbreaks of the Ebola virus since it was first identified in 1976, though its latest epidemic has now become the second most deadly in history worldwide.

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