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Video: MSF faces challenges in Guinea after Ebola health workers killed

FRANCE 24

International health NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is fighting not just a raging Ebola outbreak in Guinea, but also the suspicions of a terrified local population.

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On Wednesday, Guinean police arrested 27 people for killing eight members of an Ebola education team.

The victims, said to include local health officials and journalists, went missing after they came under attack during an outreach visit to the southern town of Womey on Tuesday last week.

Eight bodies were recovered from the septic tank of a nearby primary school two days later.

Seven months after the virus was first officially reported in Guinea, some villagers still believe health teams spread the virus, or invented it as a means of luring Africans to clinics to harvest their blood and organs.

One Guinean psychologist, who acknowledged the problem, told FRANCE 24 that attitudes were improving and that it was vital to maintain education efforts to combat the spread of the disease.

“Things are changing, people are starting to understand what's going on,” he said. “At least here in Guéckédou [province], most villagers understand what MSF is doing to gain the people's trust.”

Every morning MSF worker Maurice and his colleagues go and speak to residents and inform them how they can protect themselves from Ebola, particularly in maintaining strict hygiene.He said the population was getting the message. 

Local tribal Chief Frédéric Faya Millimouno told FRANCE 24: “All day long we wash our hands, before we go out, and when we come back home.”

The world's worst-ever Ebola epidemic has now infected nearly 6,300 people in West Africa and killed nearly half of them, according to World Health Organization figures released Thursday.

In its latest update, the UN health agency said a total of 6,263 people had been infected across five west African countries -- 44 percent of them over the past three weeks -- and that 2,917 had died.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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