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‘War on Ebola’ up against cultural belief beliefs

Kinshasa, Thursday

An army of health workers fighting the Ebola epidemic in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo are confronting denial and false beliefs regarding the highly contagious hemorrhagic virus.

“Ebola is a war,” said Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe, who heads a programme to combat Ebola, which has claimed 85 lives including three new deaths in Beni, according to the health ministry.

“The idea is that people should… understand that if there is a suspect case they should notify the authorities, and they should accept that the victims are taken to hospital,” he said.

“Some families have long hidden sick people, prevented health workers from taking patients to the Ebola Treatment Centre and refused to be vaccinated,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that several attacks on medical personnel had been reported.

At a recent gathering in Beni, several people voiced their doubts over Ebola, one of the world’s most feared viruses that in extreme cases causes fatal bleeding from internal organs, the mouth, eyes or ears. — AFP

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