Via Reuters: Anger, mistrust in Guinea villages hinder battle to beat Ebola. Excerpt:
Angry residents are blocking access for health workers to dozens of remote villages in Guinea, in a sign of persistent mistrust that could threaten President Alpha Conde's aim to eradicate Ebola from the country by early March.
The worst Ebola outbreak on record began deep in the forests of southeastern Guinea in December 2013 and has since spread to other countries in the impoverished region, killing more than 8,600 people.
Like its West African neighbors Liberia and Sierra Leone - the worst-affected nations - Guinea has recorded a sharp fall in infections in recent weeks, fuelling hope that the tide has turned against the epidemic.
But with some people still denying the incurable disease exists, experts say it could prove difficult to trace those who had been in contact with the infected and to change traditional behavior such as burial rituals involving touching the dead. These steps are seen as vital to defeating the disease.
"We are at a turning point. However, we cannot say that we have completely defeated the disease until we know what is happening inside these reticent villages," said Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for the national committee for the fight against Ebola.
In a sign of the resistance and distrust, medical kits sent by the government to schoolchildren were destroyed by villagers in Ourekaba, southern Guinea. Sylla said that locals thought the kits had been sent to contaminate the children.
Two security officials who arrived to investigate reports of a secret Ebola burial were lynched last week by a crowd in Sinkine, in the Forecariah region about 100 km from the capital Conakry, a police source said.
While in Sierra Leone, some communities have been reluctant to change their behavior, the problem in Guinea appears more acute, with health workers still being denied access altogether.
Health experts also worry that some of the southern areas lie dangerously close to the borders of Liberia and Sierra Leone and that imported cases could reverse some of the significant progress made in those two countries in recent weeks.