August 24, 2019
Latest News

Ebola as seen through the eyes of children in DR Congo

 Caregivers photographed at Katwa child care center while taking care of children whose parents are receiving treatment for Ebola in North Kivu, DR Congo, Aug. 12, 2019. EPA-EFE HANDOUT/UNICEF

Caregivers photographed at Katwa child care center while taking care of children whose parents are receiving treatment for Ebola in North Kivu, DR Congo, Aug. 12, 2019. EPA-EFE HANDOUT/UNICEF

By Patricia Martínez

Nairobi, Aug 12 (efe-epa).- Attacked by a virus that takes much more than lives, Ebola-infected minors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are forced to face difficult situations like leaving school, losing parents or being isolated from the outside world.

“This is a disease that turns the lives of children upside down and often devastates entire families,” UNICEF's representative in the African country Edouard Beigbeder said.

Everything that is normal and routine when a child gets sick — being cared for, comforted, hugged, washed by your parents — becomes a death sentence when a child is infected by Ebola,” Beigbeder added, noting that direct contact with an infected relative is one of the main forms of infection.

The virus has killed at least 527 children, nearly one third of the total death toll that amounts to 1,888, according to the latest figures released by the Congolese Health Ministry on Aug. 10.

Ebola not only disrupts the parent-child relationship of those affected, but also imposes psychological consequences and a strong social stigma.

“An outbreak of measles, malaria or communicable diseases such as tuberculosis has a much higher incidence, but Ebola is devastating from a physical and psychological point of view,” said Ricardo Agora, a psychiatrist at Physicians World.

Many children witness the death of their siblings, parents and grandparents or a person who normally looks after, feeds and plays with them.

At least 1,185 minors have been orphaned to date due to this epidemic, which is considered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in the country’s history.

Another 1,939 children have been separated from their parents.


Apart from the social and psychological outcomes, Ebola strikes education and health in the DRC, where both systems are already precarious and pediatric care is almost non-existent.

The epidemic interrupts the schooling of many children in Ebola-affected areas, with schools intermittently closed and parents reluctant to send their children to school out of fear of being infected or because they should take care of an infected family member.

It also seriously impacts healthcare services such as restricting regular medical care.

“When children show symptoms of Ebola, there are often problems accessing health services. Chronic conflict has shut down many health centers in the communities affected by Ebola,” Dr. Xavier Crespin said.

This Ebola outbreak is located in the conflict-affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, where several militia groups operate.

“But when facilities are open, we’re seeing young children arriving very sick and often too late to be saved,” Crespin pointed out.

This Ebola outbreak was announced on Aug. 1 last year, two months after the DRC's government declared an end to another outbreak in the west of the country.

It became the second-worst ever recorded with 1,888 deaths, and 2,816 confirmed cases, according to the latest figures.

The worst case in history so far is when the virus killed over 11,000 people in West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

“It goes against all instincts of parents not to touch their sick child and instead, to trust strangers to cure their loved ones," Beigbeder concluded. EFE-EPA


News history
Brazilian protesters: "Burn Bolsonaro, Not the Amazon"

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- The chant "Burn Bolsonaro, Not the Amazon," rang out Friday in at least a dozen Brazilian cities as thousands poured into...

Ex-Democratic lawmaker predicts young Latinos will unseat Trump

Chicago, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- Former Democratic lawmaker Luis Gutierrez predicts that a peaceful revolution of young Hispanic voters, supported by other...

International community calls for saving of the Amazon, engulfed in fire

Bogota, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- The fires raging in Brazil's Amazon rainforest have fueled global fears of environmental devastation, the climate crisis and the...

One step closer to saving northern white rhino from extinction

Nairobi, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- Promising developments in the harvesting of eggs belonging to the two last northern white rhinos in the world means scientists...

Indonesian green crusader completes 800 km backwards walking to save forest

Jakarta, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- An Indonesian man on Friday completed an incredible feat of walking backwards nearly 800 kilometers (497 miles) from his village...

Rohingyas in Myanmar living in 'appalling conditions’, says HRW

By Mratt Kyaw Thu

Malaysia much poorer than its government estimates, says UN

Bangkok, Aug 23 (EFE).- The Malaysian government’s near zero poverty rate claim is inaccurately low, a United Nations expert said on Friday, estimating that...

Mexican human rights commission condemns attacks on journalist

Mexico City, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) on Thursday condemned the attacks by "individuals and authorities" on...

Brazil's president doubles down on criticism of NGOs operating in Amazon

Brasilia, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday that while he did not have evidence that non-governmental organizations were behind the...

Giraffes get protection on international trade for 1st time

Geneva, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Giraffes were added on Thursday for the first time to a protection mechanism that restricts their international trade in response...

The former neo-Nazi who converted to Judaism

By Pablo Duer

Still unsafe for Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, Amnesty warns

Bangkok Desk, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Human rights organization Amnesty International warned Thursday that it was still unsafe for members of the Rohingya ethnic...

Cuba relying on bacteria to end dengue epidemic

Havana, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The dengue epidemic in several Latin American countries is also affecting - albeit to a lesser degree - Cuba, where experts are...

Czechs denounce current leaders during rally to mark 1969 crackdown

Prague, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Tens of thousands of Czechs held a demonstration here Wednesday in which they remembered countrymen who were killed or injured on...

Trump seeks to halt family migration by extending child detentions

By Laura Barros

Brazil's president points finger at NGOs in Amazon fires

Brasilia, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro insinuated on Wednesday that non-governmental organizations may be behind the fires in the Amazon, the...

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (EFE).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Nepal bans single-use plastics in Everest region

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Thailand starts distribution of medical marihuana to cancer patients

Bangkok, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Thailand has begun the distribution of Cannabis oil targeting terminally ill cancer patients following the approval of a law...

Hungarians revel in a sea of fragrant blooms

Hungarians reveled in a sea of colour and fragrant blooms to marks the 50th Debrecen Flower Festival.

Pogba target of racist slurs for missing penalty against Wolverhampton

London, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been subjected to racist insults on social media after missing a penalty in the...

With no right to divorce, Filipinos are trapped in loveless marriages forever

By Sara Gomez Armas

El Salvador woman pardoned after manslaughter conviction for abortion

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- A court in El Salvador pardoned Evelyn Hernandez, 21, this Monday of the crime of aggravated manslaughter...

Bardem: If 30 pct. of oceans not protected in 2030, damage to be irreversible

By Alvaro Celorio

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.