I’m just back from Congo and it is clear that the Ebola outbreak is getting worse, not better, despite a proven vaccine and treatment. We need to reset the response now before the outbreak spreads to other parts of the country. First and foremost we need better community engagement, with more trust - not more weapons - to keep both health workers and community members safe from the outbreak, and the violence that is disrupting the response.
Last year the US admitted just 62 Syrian refugees, an appalling abdication of America’s longstanding history of refuge for the most vulnerable people on the planet. With resettlement options shrinking, Syria still dangerous and insecure, and host countries like Jordan and Lebanon not receiving the international support they need, the 5 million Syrian refugees around the world are stuck in limbo, waiting on political leaders to have the head and the heart to bring about long-term solutions to this crisis.
The Ebola outbreak is real and it is growing in the DRC. But disinformation in the country is spreading just as rapidly as the disease itself, and that makes our job of containing Ebola’s spread all the more difficult. Despite more than 1,500 cases and 1,000 deaths in the past nine months, a staggering 45% of people in the region falsely believe Ebola is not real or that the outbreak was fabricated. This sort of misinformation and mistrust can be deadly, both for people at risk of the disease and for health workers in the region, including the seven IRC staff who were caught up in an attack in which a WHO doctor who was killed last month in Butembo.