WHO - World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa

11/03/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/03/2019 13:54

The Ministry of Health and the United Nations condemn attack on health worker supporting the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

GOMA, 3 November 2019 - The inter-ministerial technical secretariat of the response to the Ebola outbreak, the Ministry of Health and their partners from the United Nations (the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Operations (UNEERO) condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence that took place last night in Lwemba in Ituri Province, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The violence caused the death of an Ebola response community health worker and left his spouse critically injured with multiple wounds.

The victim was also a reporter for a community radio station in Lwemba and was involved in raising the awareness of his community regarding the country's tenth Ebola outbreak which began over a year ago and is impacting the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu.

The motives behind the attack are still unclear.

Authorities have begun an investigation into the murder and are looking into whether it is connected to the ongoing Ebola response. Two suspects have already been apprehended.

Any act of violence against individuals involved with the response is unacceptable and compromises the ability of health workers to provide assistance to communities impacted by the devastating effects of Ebola.

All relevant authorities including the Congolese National Police, the National Intelligence Agency and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are working to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to justice as swiftly as possible.

The inter-ministerial technical secretariat of the response to the Ebola outbreak, the Ministry of Health and its UN partners (WHO, UNICEF and UNEERO) offer their deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of those affected by this tragedy and to the broader community where this violence took place.

Since 1 January 2019, WHO has documented more than 300 attacks on health care that have caused 6 deaths and 70 injuries of health care workers and patients in the DRC.

Every attack sets back the Ebola response, which cannot function without a conducive environment for response teams to access and help the population.