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Ebola crisis 'accelerating' says field coordinator in DR Congo

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Ebola crisis 'accelerating' says field coordinator in DR Congo
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REUTERS/Newton Nabwaya
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The Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is accelerating at a "very intense speed," an MSF field coordinator told Euronews.

"It’s more than 2000 cases and the mortality rate is nearly 70% which is an absolute crisis," said Claire Manera, a field coordinator for the international humanitarian non-profit Médecins Sans Frontières.

"It’s absolutely excessive this mortality rate. Just in the last few months, we’ve had 1000 new cases so it’s accelerating at a very intense speed now," Manera continued.

The outbreak began in August 2018 and the World Health Organisation (WHO) says at least 1,405 people had died as of June 11.

WHO is set to decide Friday whether or not to declare the crisis a public health emergency.

This week, the virus crossed the border into Uganda where there were three confirmed cases of the illness.

Two of the victims reportedly died this week, including a 5-year-old boy.

The patients were all from the same family and had travelled together from the DRC, WHO confirmed on Thursday.

Manera said she hoped that WHO would declare the crisis an emergency.

"There needs to be a bigger reaction. It should have happened sooner, and it definitely needs to happen now," she said. "But either way, already the international attention is increasing, so we're on the right path."

A challenging reality

Insecurity and violence in the region make it difficult sometimes for people to seek treatment.

"In the town where I work there are still massacres that go on that we’re aware of all the time," Manera said.

Health workers are working with the local community to make treatment more accessible, and also to gain the trust of communities.

"There needs to be more listening to what the people are saying," she said.

This includes working with the medical staff that are already present in the country but also treating other illnesses such as malaria and typhoid.

"We need the population to trust and to understand that they can come as soon as they have symptoms," she said. "This will greatly reduce the number of deaths that we’re seeing".

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