An ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sickened over 200 people and resulted in over 130 deaths as of October 18. It could get worse.
What makes this current outbreak so potentially dangerous is the fact that it is occurring in a conflict zone. Ebola has been confirmed in two provinces, North Kivu and Ituri, that have long been a hotbed for various armed groups. As my guest today, Heather Kerr of Save the Children explains, this insecurity is seriously undermining efforts to bring this outbreak under control.
To be sure, the DRC is experienced in handling Ebola outbreaks. A separate outbreak in the country’s Equateur province was quickly and effectively contained last summer. But the challenges facing this latest outbreak are immense. In particular, the large city of Beni was recently attacked by an armed group, forcing health workers to curtail their activities.
I caught up with Heather Kerr, who is Save the Children’s Country Director for DRC, from Kinshasa, the capitol of the DRC where she was just emerging from a meeting on the ebola outbreak. If you have twenty minutes and want to learn how local authorities and the international community are responding to this challenging outbreak, have a listen