In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola was never meant to spread into Goma (the second biggest city). It just happened that a pastor, who thought that he could heal Ebola patients by laying his hand on their foreheads sneaked into the city by giving fake names to each of the three checkpoints while also on a heavy dose of Paracetamol to avoid detection by fever sensors. Upon arrival to the city, He checked into a clinic where he tested positive for Ebola. The pastor ended up dead in the ambulance on his way back to Butembo to receive treatment.
A threat to the West-African community
The challenges faced by Health Workers are enormous. The latest outbreak nearly claimed 1700 people’s life in Congo alone. It was the second biggest outbreak after the one in West Africa between 2014-2016. It was the first to happen in a war zone, the doctors had much more to worry about not just the disease but also guerrillas with machetes.
The WHO declares Ebola a public health emergency
Tudors Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at the time director-general of the World Health Organization. He was advised by World Health Organization(WHO) emergency committee to declare the disease a public health emergency of international concern. Goma has a population of 2 million people making it the most populated and because it has thousands crossing the border daily it poses a huge risk to the international community. Until now the virus has only been contained in regions hard to access by road. In densely populated urban areas, it is rather hard to keep track of all those patients who may be infected.
The situation so far seems to be under control, for the Congolese ministry of health and the World Health Organization who have been busy vaccinating anyone who could possibly have been infected by the pastor. “Ebola really becomes a problem when a chain of transmission is launched,” says Tariq Riebl of the International Rescue Committee. Oly Ilunga (NGO) says, “declaring an emergency will not only change the nature of the response.” Doctors had worries that declaring a state of emergency might lead other countries to close their borders.
Is the virus still spreading?
In West Africa, sick people are trying to avoid checkpoints. Given the threat of Ebola spreading to nearby countries such as Rwanda and Uganda, the World Health Organization said that more international coordination is needed. Sadly Rwanda seems to be less prepared than Uganda and Congo, given the fact that Rwanda is more likely to be affected negatively by the outbreak
Ebola is one of the most contagious diseases that have no cure yet; patients who get it through one way or another are usually isolated until their life cycle ends. They are later on not just taken to the grave but covered by lead and bleach in a huge mass grave to prevent contamination, the doctors themselves are usually fully protected to avoid contamination. Due to the outbreak, it got to a point whereby if a person is suspected to have been infected or even by chance appears to be having symptoms similar to Ebola is put under isolation.