Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "The confirmation of a first case of Ebola in Mbandaka, an urban area, worries us deeply", writes His Exc. Mgr. Marcel Utembi Tapa, Archbishop of Kisangani and President of the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO), in a message on the Ebola epidemic that has affected the province of Equator, in the areas of Bikoro, Wangata and Iboko. So far the reported cases are 45 of whom 25 people have died.
In expressing, on behalf of CENCO, the proximity to the affected populations and the condolences to the relatives of the victims, Msg. Utembi underlines the risks of spreading the infection in the city of Mbandaka, capital of the Equator Province. "Given the nature of the disease and the lack of information, the risk of spreading in a city of 1.2 million inhabitants and in neighboring cities is to be feared" writes Mgr. Utembi. "Several worrying factors are likely to amplify the deadly epidemic whose lethality ranges from 20 to 90%. The threat of the Ebola epidemic is therefore to be taken seriously at provincial, national and regional levels".
Mgr. Utembi launches appeals on behalf of CENCO to the Congolese authorities, to local and international NGOs, to the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to urgently take "the necessary measures to respond effectively to the emergency and limit the spread of the disease and guarantee the safety and health of the population".
CENCO praises WHO's prompt intervention, which has sent a large delegation led by the General Director, and a team of experts. "Their presence testifies the national solidarity offered to the DRC to cope with this disease", emphasizes the message.
In addressing the populations of the areas affected by the epidemic, Mgr. Utembi invites them not to fall into despair and resignation, despite serious difficulties, trusting in God's help, to facilitate the work of health teams and "not to give in to fear and stigma that risk hindering the epidemic response". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/5/2018)