Congo health workers face violence as Ebola virus spreads
That's been going on for years meets a deadly out. Outbreak of the Ebola virus, this is all happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Which is where we reached Dr Janik Diaz she's with the World Health organizations health emergencies program, and she's been working at the center of the Ebola outbreak in the city of Beni where eight UN peacekeepers were killed yesterday. There are reports of another attack on peacekeepers today. I asked Dr Diaz how dangerous conditions affect her daily work. So our day starts where we have security reports in the morning about seven o'clock or six thirty in the morning telling us, but the security situation is whether or not we can move or not move. What time we can move. If it safe. He usually if things are, okay. Hi, go straight to the treatment unit where I work with national doctors doctors from Benny during the day, there may be security problems that we hear them. It stinks change. We have to move her leave the treatment unit. Then we just do what we're told. To make sure that everyone. Stay safe, treating Ebola is complicated and involves risks even without the threat of violence. I understand you're taking some new approaches in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tell us what you're doing differently and whether it's having an impact. So the major things that we've done as an international community is to try to bring optimal supportive care to an outbreak. And so what are the most novel things that has happened is with the new type of isolation unit, which is called a cute. Where you can actually provide very close monitoring and very intensive care to the patients that are being cared for there. And that has really improved the quality of care that we are able to provide the disease transmits through body fluids. And so typically doctors would be wearing a big body suit. So they don't get infected and you're saying now doctors don't always have to put on a bodysuit the person can be kind of like a plastic almost like a box and the doctor uses gloves through that isolation chamber. Yes. So there is doctors inside that are wearing that full protective gear, and then there's other doctors or nurses outside that can be talking to the doctor insight into the patient and supporting them without having to be inside and all the protective gear and also physically being able to put their hands inside and adjust. And fusion monitors drip, start taking blood pressure without having to be inside. So that it makes us able to give better supportive care. I understand you're using new drugs and vaccines as well. Tell us about that. The new medicines that we're using they're not approved three bullet because there's not enough clinical trials to show their affective. So when you have drugs that have not been shown yet. Then approved for a disease, then you use them under compassionate use protocol. And these drugs have promising studies based on animal, data and laboratory data. So what we got was permission for the committee ethical committee of the Congo to use these potentially life-saving therapeutics in patients in the DRC. So so far we've used us in about one hundred and fifty one patients and the vaccines in regards to the vaccine the vaccine is also an investigational intervention, and they're using the same protocol that they used in west Africa, which is vaccinated context and context context ever that people living in areas affected by Bala don't trust government officials or health workers tell us about that. And what impact it has on your efforts to fight this disease? That is one of the most difficult challenges. I think the outbreak has faced the distrust. I think the worst part is that patients don't come. They are scared or they don't believe and then they don't come see care. And if they finally do see care they see care when it's too late and Ebola is a devastating disease. So if you arrive too late like, then the surviving are very very low and in the interim while they're scared and not coming to the center, and they're sick that risks exposing other people in the community or their families to the disease and then spreading the infection. So the distrust or their resistance is a major player and keeping a epidemic going Dr Janet Diaz of the WHO's health emergencies program. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. My pleasure. Thank you.