Congo Ebola Outbreak Kills Almost 1,000 – Locals Refuse Foreign Vaccines

Congo Ebola Outbreak Kills 1,000 - Locals Refuse Foreign Vaccines

The incidents of the deadly Ebola virus is one that has rocked African nations for years now.

Many Africans believe that the virus was introduced by foreign scientists or governments to reduce the population of Africans. Many others call the claims a conspiracy theory. But whatever the case is, the truth remains that Ebola is still a threat in Africa, and many tribes are refusing certain foreign vaccines.

Congo’s Ebola epidemic has now been reported to have exceeded 1,000 cases, the Health Ministry said on Monday. They said with a death toll of 629 it is the world’s second worst ever outbreak of Ebola.

Health workers have been better equipped and prepared than ever for this latest epidemic of the hemorrhagic fever, which causes severe vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding, and kills more than half of those it infects.

Doctors and organizations on the ground say that new technologies like a trial vaccine, experimental treatments and futuristic cube-shaped mobile units for treating patients have helped curb the spread of the virus.

But there is a great public mistrust for the treatments by the Congo people. There has been rampant insecurity in the parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where Ebola has struck. Authorities say that these have hampered the response of health institutions to the deadly virus, complicating the fight against it.

It has been reported that five Ebola treatment centres have been attacked since last month, sometimes by armed assailants. The violence has led French medical charity ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)’ to suspend its activities at the epicentre of the outbreak last month.

As a result, this outbreak is now the second-deadliest in history, behind the 2013-16 one in West Africa that is believed to have killed more than 11,000 people.

“The total is now 1,009 cases,” the ministry of health said in a statement, but it added that: “the response, led by the Health Ministry in collaboration with its partners, has limited the geographical spread.”

Last Wednesday, 21st of March, 2019, authorities confirmed a case of Ebola in Bunia, another city with a population of close to 1 million people.

If precautions are not taken, the spread of the deadly Ebola, in such cities can be drastic, and also spread to other nations.

Also, there is a superstitious belief among the people that the Ebola is a curse from the devil for eating bush meat that was stolen fro game reserves.

Instead of receiving the vaccination, many locals are turning to preachers to rid them of the evil spirits that came with eating the bush meats or seeing someone who ate the bushmeat. And this is said to have hampered the efforts of health workers battling to stop the spread of the deadly illness.

The World Health Organisation said the world is on an “epidemiological knife edge”. But the warnings are not being heeded by some the locals who believe prayer is the answer.

The problem we find ourselves in Africa is a delicate one. It is worrisome how much religious fanatism has eaten into us as a people.

How can people be so brainwashed to believe that prayer from a pastor would cure Ebola? One thing is certain, for now; and that the fact that Ebola can be cured by inhibited and contained by the recent vaccines or by natural African herbs.

As we try to figure out the root cause of this deadly virus and why it keeps surfacing only in Africa, our people must be sensitized on why prayers will only worsen the matter.

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