NewsCentral AfricaUNICEF carries out field vaccinations in Congo's Ebola hit community


Posted on Monday, 28 May 2018 15:08

UNICEF carries out field vaccinations in Congo's Ebola hit community

By Reuters

 A health care worker displays an Ebola information leaflet f in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 24, 2018. Photo: John Bompengo/AP/SIPAHealth workers have been reaching communities affected by Ebola in the Democratic of Congo's Equateur Province, rolling out an experimental vaccine and raising awareness about the virus that has already killed at least 22 people and infected 30 more.

With more than twice as many Ebola outbreaks as any other country since the virus was discovered in 1976, Congolese are familiar with its destructive power, yet fear and suspicion of medical authorities are still hindering efforts at containment.

Face significant mistrust

Congo's government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and aid agencies including UNICEF are racing to contain what could be the most dangerous of Democratic Republic of Congo's nine epidemics since it was discovered by northern Congo's eponymous river four decades ago.

"The big mission of UNICEF's 'communication for development' is to successfully mobilise the population for vaccination. So, we go to the households to talk to them about the vaccination that stops transmission. We speak about the advantage of the vaccination, we speak to them about what they need to do, how they have to behave and finally we take them to the vaccination sites to be vaccinated. This is essentially what we are doing in the field," said Jean Claude Nzengu from UNICEF.

Health officials say they are working hard to get out accurate information about the deadly hemorrhagic fever but face significant mistrust in a part of Africa where many place more faith in clerics than doctors.

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