With the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo now in its tenth month and the number of new cases increasing in recent weeks, the United Nations (UN) has announced measures to strengthen its response and end the outbreak.
The Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 1,200 lives and the risk of spread to other provinces in eastern Congo as well as neighbouring countries remains very high. A third of those who have fallen ill are children, a higher proportion than in previous outbreaks.
Ongoing insecurity and community mistrust in the response continue to hamper access to affected communities, hindering efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to detect infected people and ensure access to treatment and vaccination, said the UN.
In view of the increasingly complex environment, the UN, with its partners, is now strengthening political engagement and operational support to negotiate access to communities, increasing support for humanitarian co-ordination and bolstering preparedness and readiness planning for surrounding countries.
The UN Secretary-General has also established a strengthened coordination and support mechanism in the epicentre of the outbreak, Butembo.
The number of healthcare workers affected by Ebola has risen to 102 (6% of total cases), according the latest WHO outbreak data.