A man in civilian clothes looks at another man wearing an army uniform and resting a rifle in his arm. | "When Lambs Become Lions"

Link Voices

Start watching
HRzkkPW-show-poster2x3-pWmERoT.jpg

Foreign Correspondent

Start watching
A man looks out to a vast landscape of mountains and water. | From "Embrace of the Serpent" / Kino Lorber

Cinemondo

Start watching
HvlSxHY-show-poster2x3-4ik43uV.png

Earth Focus

Start watching
Rahaf Al Qunun | "Four Corners" episode "Escape from Saudi"

Four Corners

Start watching
jElHzF3-show-poster2x3-ilk2bxh.jpg

America ReFramed

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Heart Donate Icon
Support the world of Link TV with a donation today.
Vehicle Donation Icon Card
Help us make a difference by donating a vehicle.
Planned Giving Icon
There are many ways to include Link TV in your plans for the future.

Women Hit as Congo Faces Triple Threat of Coronavirus, Ebola and Measles


This story was originally published June 5, 2020 by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

As the world races to stem the coronavirus, Democratic Republic of Congo is racing to also stop the spread of measles and a new outbreak of Ebola, leaving women delaying reproductive health needs, aid groups warned.

Congo is also facing armed conflict, bringing with it sexual violence against women who, as caregivers, are often on the frontlines of caring for the sick and at higher risk of falling ill and also often blamed for spreading these viruses.

"One of these challenges by itself is very crippling," said Robert Ghosn, head of emergency operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in DRC.

"The accumulative effect is mind boggling. Communities have to face multiple challenges at the same time," Ghosn told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Wanea Mabele, mother of a measles patient, walks through the measles isolation ward in Boso-Manzi hospital in Mongala province in northern Democratic Republic of Congo February 29, 2020. Picture taken February 29, 2020. | REUTERS/Hereward Holland
Wanea Mabele, mother of a measles patient, walks through the measles isolation ward in Boso-Manzi hospital in Mongala province in northern Democratic Republic of Congo February 29, 2020. Picture taken February 29, 2020. | REUTERS/Hereward Holland

The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever and is spread through direct contact with body fluids from an infected person, who suffers severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

new outbreak in Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province, announced on May 31, is Congo's 11th since the virus was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976.

The country is also combating a measles epidemic that has killed over 6,000 people, and COVID-19, which has infected over 3,600 and killed 78.

"DRC's health system has been weakened by years of conflict and neglect," said Chantal Umutoni, a senior advisor with The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) DRC.

"The additional pressure to tackle these outbreaks will add a burden to the already strained health systems and this will impact on the delivery of basic health services, especially for children and women," said Umutoni in emailed comments.

A study by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian relief organization, reported that women were afraid of being accused of having Ebola and therefore delayed or avoided treatment for reproductive health needs or bleeding.

The Ebola outbreak impacted the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), safe abortions, unintended pregnancies and newborn deaths, according to the report.

These are risks experts fear will rise amid this triple virus threat.

"Until June 2019, pregnant and breastfeeding women were not eligible for the Ebola vaccine. This left many (including front line response workers) at a greater risk of contracting Ebola," said Umutoni.

Young women often go to older women with sexual and reproductive health needs, said Umutoni, which is why they need access to information so they can transfer it to others.

"Engaging women means having them in response teams, in decision-making positions and setting up discussions for women by women," said Umutoni.

Reporting by Kim Harrisberg @KimHarrisberg; editing by Belinda Goldsmith.

Related Content
A health worker receives the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine under the COVAX scheme against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya March 5, 2021.

Africans Slam Rich Nations for Blocking Access to Generic COVID-19 Vaccines

Africa has received only 0.2% of 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered worldwide while Western members of the World Trade Organization seek to defend their patent rights.
An employee of Spirit airline wearing a face mask asks a passenger for a passport

How COVID-19 Certificates and Passports Could Help Reopen Economies Around the World

Digital tools to certify immunity from COVID-19 could help ease lockdowns, but raise equality and privacy concerns.
FILE PHOTO: A delivery person rides a bicycle past a restaurant, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 5, 2020.

Hyperlocal Delivery Apps Help Lockdown-Hit Restaurants Stay Afloat

From India to France, food businesses are turning to smaller delivery platforms which they say offer a better deal for lockdown-hit firms.