Being Unable to send disease fighters to help fight one of the deadliest Ebola disease outbreaks in history, U.S. health officials are turning to the basketball hall of fame Dikembe Mutombo for assistance
Mutombo, considered one of the best players in NBA history and a well-known philanthropist in his home counntry Congo, recorded radio and video spots designed to steer folks to take precautions and get care which may cease the disease’s spread.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Management and Prevention started posting the spots Monday on its YouTube channel and the agency’s website. Officers are attempting to get radio and TV stations within the Democratic Republic of Congo to air them.
More than 2,200 individuals have been reported unwell — and about 1,500 have died — since the outbreak was declared in August in eastern Congo. It’s the second deadliest outbreak of the deadly virus, which jumps from individual to individual quickly by close contact with bodily fluids.
Rebel attacks and community resistance have slowed Ebola response work in Congo. A World Health Organization physician was killed in April, health facilities have been attacked and armed groups have repeatedly threatened health workers. Due to security issues, the U.S. State Division last year ordered CDC illness specialists to remain out of the outbreak areas.
Mutombo, who moved to the U.S. within the 1980s aspiring to pursue a medical degree, advised The Associated Press he understands where the mistrust comes from.
The thought was sparked in February when Mutombo, a member of the CDC Foundation’s governing board who lives in Atlanta, was speaking with Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director.