The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Congo:
Ebola Returns

Sep 17, 2018

The following article was translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Ebola broke out again in early August in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in West Africa, following a previous outbreak that killed 33 people in two months.

This is the tenth outbreak since 1976, and has killed 50 people and sickened dozens more in just a few weeks. The virus killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa from 2013 to 2016.

Labs in the rich countries neglected Ebola until the 2013 epidemic showed the virus can cross borders. Some experimental vaccines were developed and one is being used. But even with the vaccine, West African countries face big obstacles fighting the virus. The countryside is poor, with little electrification, while the vaccine has to be kept extremely cold. Rural areas hardly have a health infrastructure and face huge difficulties fighting other diseases as well.

While 12 foreign medical teams struggle to function in abysmal conditions to fight Ebola, the mining industry in the province of North Kivu is flourishing. Medical teams encounter constant civil war between the army, militias, and criminal gangs, while the army intervenes on behalf of American and South African-owned Alphamin company to protect their profits by attacking independent tin miners.

After all, tin was selling for over $20,000 per ton, and that is the authorities’ priority, not human life.