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SA soldiers on Ebola alert in DRC

Daily News logo Daily News 2018-05-24 Mphathi Nxumalo
a person standing in front of a building: A health worker is sprayed with chlorine after visiting the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The hospital had just admitted a suspected Ebola case. Picture: Jean Robert N’Kengo/Reuters © Provided by Independent Media A health worker is sprayed with chlorine after visiting the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The hospital had just admitted a suspected Ebola case. Picture: Jean Robert N’Kengo/Reuters Durban - The SANDF in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is on high alert as the country deals with an Ebola outbreak.

World Health Organisation spokesperson Tarik Jaarevi said there were 46 cases, 21 confirmed deaths and another 21 probable cases.

SANDF spokesperson General Mafi Mgobozi said they had a medical team on the ground to deal with any eventualities.

He said the outbreak was in the North West and they had no soldiers stationed in that part of the country.

The SANDF’s 5th battalion from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal is working in the restive eastern part of the country.

Mgobhozi said the 5th battalion would be changed next month with the 7th battalion from Phalaborwa.

The last Ebola virus outbreak was between 2013 and 2014 which affected the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The disease has left more than 11 300 people dead, according to the World Health Organisation.

Dr Diaku Dianzenzu, a DRC national, said that the Ebola outbreak was not a high priority for the DRC community in Durban.

Dianzenzu, who lives in Durban, said most of his countrymen were more worried about the political situation in their country.

A major concern would be if the disease travelled along the Congo River to the capital, Kinshasa, which has a population of more than 10 million people, according to the World Health Organisation.

Dianzenzu said one of the reasons that there was a problem responding to the outbreak was the lack of infrastructure in the DRC, which has been torn apart by decades of war.

He said it was the war for resources that the country was rich in which angered many of his compatriots and most discussions were centred around this.

Dianzenzu, a former soldier, said he doubted that the country would have elections in the near future.

Protests have rocked the country as its citizens demanded elections, which have been postponed on numerous occasions.

According to the UN, elections are scheduled to be held in December.

“I know that there will be a solution one day. It is a long process - it is not something that will happen in one day,” Dianzenzu said.

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