The World Health Organisation and humanitarian agencies are rushing to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola Disease after three cases were confirmed in one week in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These cases are reported in Butembo, an epicentre of a previous outbreak (the 10th in the country) that was declared over in June last year.
“Thankfully, World Vision had trained and equipped faith leaders and motorcycle riders on how to help their communities contain such outbreaks. This provides a ready and available force for effective community engagement to safeguard families, especially children,” explains Anne-Marie Connor, National Director for World Vision in the DRC.
“Since March 2020, we adapted our programmes to augment the COVID-19 standard operating procedures, and thankfully most of the measures like frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing work for Ebola prevention as well,” World Vision East Zone Director, David Munkley, adds.
The WHO and the Government have commenced shipment of vaccine doses to Butembo and ensuring shipment of cold chain equipment to the affected zone, as well as working to strengthen laboratory capacity.
This part of the country suffers cycles of violent conflict that complicate surveillance efforts, and constrain access to affected areas by responders. Ongoing health emergencies such as COVID-19, malaria, common cholera and measles outbreaks further stretch the country’s ability to rapidly detect and respond to new Ebola cases.
“An outbreak of such a highly contagious disease, in a region experiencing mass people movements due to violent spikes of conflict that have recently affected nearly 26,000 families, is worrisome,” notes Anne-Marie Connor.
Patrick Saah, World Vision’s Director for Sustained Humanitarian Emergencies in the DRC, shares: “Addressing public health challenges of this nature requires rapid mobilisation of resources to fire up multi-sector responses. A new Ebola outbreak announced in Guinea this weekend further confounds international response mechanisms.”
World Vision has been a leader in facilitating Ebola vaccine deployment, acceptance, and compliance during the worst Ebola epidemic in West Africa, as well as the 10th outbreak in the DRC in 2019/20. World Vision continues to actively monitor this outbreak in coordination with other humanitarian stakeholders.
Spokespersons are available on request.