Red Cross workers attacked during safe burial of Ebola victim in DR Congo

5 October, 2018

Outbreak News Today. Extracts and comment below. Full text here: http://outbreaknewstoday.com/red-cross-workers-attacked-safe-burial-ebol...

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Three volunteers of the Red Cross Society were on Tuesday injured after being attacked while carrying out a safe burial of one Ebola victim in Butembo in the North Kivu area east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a statement issued on October 4, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said two of the volunteers were seriously wounded. They are now receiving medical care in Kinshasa...

“This is an awful reminder of the dangers that these volunteer safe and dignified burials teams face. While we categorically denounce the attack on our colleagues, we understand the fear and frustration that many communities in North Kivu feel right now.

“People are scared and there are many rumours circulating that only serve to heighten the sense of fear and distrust,” said Dr Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Regional Director for Africa...

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Comment (Neil PW): As we saw so clearly in the devastating West Africa outbreak of 2014/15, myths and misinformation continue to have a massive negative impact on populations, accelerating spread of Ebolaand leading to violence against health workers. Public health efforts cannot succeeed without the understanding, trust and cooperation of the general public. The situation in DR Congo is particularly challenging because it is in an area of social fragility,d conflict, and widespread conflict. It woudlbe interesting to understand how misinformation is spread - through WhatsApp and similar platforms, as with West Africa? What lessons can be learned from West Africa that can be applied to the situation in DR Congo?

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (www.dgroups.info), which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org