Congo

Congo: Government moves to calm fears in Ebola zone

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BRAZZAVILLE , 11 March (IRIN) - Health Minister Alain Moka is leading a high-level delegation to the Department of Kelle, the Cuvette-Ouest Region of the Republic of Congo, to reassure residents of government's efforts to overcome the Ebola haemorrhagic fever that broke out there almost one month ago.
He told local administrators they must inform residents on how to protect themselves against catching the disease. He also promised government help for the orphans of Ebola.

The delegation, which arrived in Kelle on Sunday, includes Energy and Water Minister Philippe Mvouo - who is also the MP for Kelle - and the president of the Departmental Council, Richard Eyeni.

Their visit follows criticism by parliamentarians on Thursday of government inaction in protecting the people of Cuvette-Ouest. Kelle is the epicentre of the disease, which has already killed 88 people there and another 11 in Mbono. In addition, four teachers have been killed after being accused of being responsible for a number of deaths. Terrified of catching Ebola, some 85 percent of Kelle's residents have fled into the forest.

A multisectoral programme for the research and prevention of Ebola was adopted on Thursday at the end of a three-day international meeting in the capital, Brazzaville.

The programme will be overseen by a newly created permanent coordination committee, whose mission will be to ensure coordination among the different groups involved, and the elaboration and implementation of a plan of action.

The conference was attended by some 70 medical researchers, anthropologists, virologists, physicians, veterinarians, and representatives from tropical disease research centres in Europe, the US, and from the UN, seeking a better understanding of the virus and its environment.

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