What the Ebola epidemic left behind in northeast Congo
By Irene Escudero
Nairobi, Apr 30 (efe-epa).- The Ebola epidemic has claimed the lives of 2,279 people in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
There are many stories behind this figure, including a baby who was orphaned as soon as she was born or a young patient whose biggest concern was graduating from high school.
After 52 days without any cases the government reported another death on 10 April and a fresh wave of infections.
Local authorities and the World Health Organization had hoped that the last Ebola patient was Semida Masika.
She was cured at the Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Beni, one of the cities most affected by the epidemic in the North Kivu province, on 3 March.
Esther Sokolua, a medic with Doctors Without Borders who worked at the centre, said: “She was a mother who had already lost her son a few days earlier and was very resistant to taking the little one to the ETC, but her son became very, very bad, she lost him and came.”
Medics had feared Masika might not survive because she was so unstable but they managed to save her.
It was hoped that this was the end of the country’s largest Ebola epidemic, which had a case fatality rate of 66 per cent, higher than an outbreak that shook West Africa between 2014 and 2016, despite having vaccines and treatment.
Some people arrived in such a deteriorated state that treatment could not take effect and others who seemed to be progressing well suddenly destabilised in five minutes and died within an hour.
“It has not been easy for the medical team, it has not been easy for the family of the deceased, it has not been easy for the city of Beni,” Sokolua said.