A mob in eastern Congo killed an Ebola health worker and looted a clinic, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, underscoring a breakdown in public trust that is hampering efforts to contain the deadly virus.

Attacks on treatment centres by armed groups and mistrust among residents who view the disease as a conspiracy have become major impediments to containing Democratic Republic of Congo’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak.

The ministry said residents of the village of Vusahiro, in the Mabalako district, “rose up and attacked the local Ebola response team, made up of village residents who were trained to carry out certain response activities”.

A hygienist from the infection prevention and control team died of his injuries when he was transferred to hospital, it said.

U.N. officials say that stopping targeted attacks on health workers requires untangling deep-rooted political problems in eastern Congo. Dialogue has led to a recent reduction in large-scale attacks on health workers.

Still, an uphill battle remains. Between January and early May, there were 42 attacks on health facilities, with 85 workers either injured or killed, according to WHO figures from May 3.

Meanwhile, Health workers have been attacked six times in the last eight days.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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