As the number of people killed by the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo passes 2,000, this is a grim reminder that after more than one year, the Ebola response is failing to tackle the epidemic, which has recently spread to new areas in North and South Kivu, and keeps raging in Ituri.
Despite having new therapeutic treatments and an experimental vaccine, all of which have proven effective, the local communities are still not on board and even continue to express hostile sentiments towards Ebola response activities. While a better collective effort is needed in explaining Ebola and supporting preventive measures to control the spread of the virus, many among the population have pointed out the lack of healthcare for several other diseases.
“The population won’t support the Ebola response if their most basic non-Ebola healthcare needs are being ignored. We must place local communities at the heart of the intervention by decentralising some Ebola activities to the local healthcare facilities people are familiar with and supporting general access to healthcare. People must not be coerced or forced by the Ebola response machine, and families must have a choice in what is best for themselves and their loved ones. All organisations must work together in this direction to put an end to this terrible outbreak” says Tristan le Lonquer, Emergency Coordinator in North Kivu.