The DRC’s North Kivu region had never faced an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever before, and health workers have battled misinformation and rumors.
Some residents did not even believe Ebola was a real disease, while others try to avoid treatment if they fall ill.
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“The fear of being forcibly hospitalized adds to the poor public image of Ebola treatment centers,” Natalie Roberts, head of emergencies for the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, wrote earlier this month. “These structures are associated with a life-threatening illness, isolation and the use of protective equipment which makes the staff unrecognizable and intimidating.”
In North Kivu and Ituri, around 1,300 people have already contracted Ebola, and more than 850 have succumbed to the virus.
In an attempt to curb the outbreak, around 100,000 people have already received an experimental Ebola vaccine in the region.
The latest in a string of attacks
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday condemned the Butembo University Hospital attack and called on Congolese authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
An Ebola treatment centre near the hospital hit on Saturday was also the target of an attack in February that led the aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres to stop its work there.
On March 9, an attack on a treatment centre at Butembo left a policeman dead and a health worker wounded. It was the third attack on that centre.
On February 24, a treatment centre in Katwa was set ablaze.
law/ (AFP, AP, dpa)
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