Head of WHO calls for secure access to Ebola patients

The Head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for free and secure access to the Ebola-affected people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is after seeing first-hand the complexities of the Ebola response in the conflict-affected region of North Kivu.

According to the UN News Center, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus says all those participating in the response must be able to move freely and safely in conflict areas to do the work that is needed to bring the outbreak under control.

He adds that the population must also have access to treatment centers that save lives and stop the spread of disease.”

While this is the country’s 10th Ebola outbreak, it is the first time that the disease has struck a densely populated active conflict zone.

As was done in the recent outbreak in the west of the country, WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health in key aspects of the response.

A range of armed groups are active in the area and, according to WHO, this insecurity is creating a challenge for health teams attempting to reach communities for active case finding and monitoring, often requiring armed escorts.

The violence can also discourage members of the community from coming forward for treatment.