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Fears of Ebola spilling into parts of South Sudan

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A woman crawls toward the body of her sister as an Ebola burial team takes it away for cremation -showing the grim reality of the Ebola outbreak. PHOTO: John Moore and Mohammed Elshamy

The World Health Organization has raised an alarm over the possibility of partners failing to successfully contain the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UN agency fears that Ebola could spiral out of control and spill into other parts of DR Congo and across the borders of South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Last year, South Sudan Ministry of Health and W.H.O set up emergency and response teams at the border crossing points in Nimule and along the former Western Equatoria to deal with any suspected case of Ebola entering the country.

The Ministry despite the outbreak being far away from the border of DRC, the Ministry has scaled up measures to avoid any incidences.

But now the World Health Organization says lack of commitment to cease armed attacks, misinformation and a growing funding gap are impeding the response to the Ebola outbreak in northeastern Congo.

More than 100 armed groups roam the area, and have displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

A research released last week noted that constant insecurity in Congo leaves response teams unable to perform robust surveillance nor deliver much needed treatment and immunizations.

“High mobility and population density also raise the potential that the virus could cross into the neighboring countries –including South Sudan,” WHO noted.

This second-worst Ebola outbreak already has claimed 1,069 lives in Congo.

WHO says “many of the victims have died at home, potentially exposing others to the disease and leaving gaps in how — and to whom — the virus may have been transmitted.”

The organization revealed that funding for the Ebola response has fallen far short of need.

It had requested 87 million U.S dollars, but only received 32.5 million dollars as of May, 2019.

This is the 10th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the virus was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976.

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