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 its 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 another agent 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.
The motives behind the attack are still unclear. Meanwhile, an investigation is ongoing to identify the motives and 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 300 attacks on health care workers 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.
No matter what, the Ebola response team will continue to fight Ebola hand in hand with the communities and the affected population and with all the partners involved.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.