Almost a year after the outbreak of Ebola was declared in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and with the number of new cases at worrying levels, the United Nations has hosted a high-level meeting in Geneva to take stock of the co-ordinated response and galvanise further support for efforts to defeat the disease.
More than 1,650 people have died in the current outbreak, while about 12 new cases are being reported daily.
On 14 July, the first case of Ebola was confirmed in Goma, a city of about one million people south of the outbreak’s epicentre. Almost 3,000 health workers in Goma have been vaccinated.
The response is being hampered by poor health infrastructure, political instability and ongoing conflict involving scores of armed militia groups and community mistrust of national authorities and outsiders.
Since January, there have been 198 attacks against the health response services that have resulted in seven deaths and left 58 healthcare workers and patients injured.
With the outbreak still confined to the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, the response is now at a critical juncture, with the World Health Organization (WHO) assessing the risk of spread to neighbouring provinces and countries as very high.