Ebola has returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a web of social issues are complicating the medical response.
According to health officials, 75 people have died and there are now 112 suspected Ebola cases in the nation’s eastern regions.
Schools are particularly concerned about how to proceed, and UNICEF is scaling up their water, sanitation and hygiene efforts to help children stay in school and remain safe from infection while in attendance.
Meanwhile, violent conflicts persist in the region, forcing many people to flee their homes and putting millions at risk from the spread of the disease.
Further complicating the situation, health workers have experienced what one official described as “fear and anger in some communities toward Red Cross teams that come to bury the deceased in accordance with safe and dignified burial protocols.”
Because Ebola is incredibly infectious, a safe burial is critical to protecting families and communities from the contagion.
Per World Health Organization protocols, a “safe and dignified burial” includes putting on protective equipment, placing the body in a body bag, sanitizing the family’s environment, removing protective equipment, managing waste, performing hand hygiene, and burial at a cemetery.
Sources: U.N. News Service, ReliefWeb, World Health Organization