Democratic Republic of The Congo Faces Ebola Outbreak
International Medical Corps Is Helping To Respond to New Cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
In late July, an outbreak of Ebola in a northwest province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was officially declared over. Yet on August 1st, the government confirmed new cases of the deadly virus in North Kivu, a province more than 1,500 miles from the earlier outbreak.
International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team (ERT) was already in DRC responding to the most recent outbreak, in Equateur Province. The ERT is now working in North Kivu with the Ministry of Health to help with infection prevention, monitoring and surveillance, and building local response capacity. We will remain in close contact with the Ministry of Health, local health officials and the international community to identify any additional support we can provide.
International Medical Corps has extensive experience and expertise in stopping the spread of Ebola, having responded in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea-Bissau in the wake of the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic. We served as a key implementation partner for the World Health Organization, fielding a team of more than 1,500 and treating nearly 460 Ebola-positive patients in our five treatment centres. We helped host governments prevent further transmission of the virus, provided critical training to frontline health workers—and, importantly, stayed after the outbreak to continue to build local health systems and provide mental health and psychosocial counselling to those affected by the deadly disease.
We will build on our breadth and depth of experience in DRC, where we’ve provided vital health services since 1999, as we continue to support the Ministry of Health’s efforts to contain the Ebola virus.
What’s happening now?
In early August, one week after the most recent Ebola outbreak was declared over and a 90-day period of heightened vigilance and surveillance efforts began, new cases of the Ebola virus were confirmed by the Ministry of Health in North Kivu. In total, 3,145 cases have been reported in this new Ebola outbreak, including 3,034 confirmed, 111 probable cases, 2,098 deaths and 960 surivors.
What are the potential consequences?
Though the end of one Ebola epidemic was declared, flare-ups are still possible. These new cases are in North Kivu, a province more than 1,500 miles from the earlier outbreak.
North Kivu province, located in northeastern DRC, sits along the border with Uganda and Rwanda. Insecurity will likely further complicate efforts to contain the deadly virus, as the province has been plagued by ongoing conflict for the last 20 years.
How is International Medical Corps responding?
International Medical Corps’ team in DRC is ramping up disease surveillance and infection prevention activities in North Kivu. We remain in close contact with the Ministry of Health, local health officials and the international community to identify any additional support we can provide.
In response to the previous Ebola outbreak, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team has deployed to North Kivu and are working in alignment with the World Health Organization and the DRC’s Ministry of Health, with ongoing assessments in Beni and Mangina to help increase infection prevention, step up monitoring and surveillance, and build local response capacity. Other International Medical Corps staff remain on standby in Kinshasa and Mbandaka to deploy as necessary.
Does International Medical Corps have experience with Ebola?
We have extensive experience and expertise in stopping the spread of Ebola, having responded in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea-Bissau in the wake of the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic. With a team of more than 1,500 staff, we treated a total of nearly 460 Ebola-positive patients in our five treatment units, helped host governments prevent further transmission of the virus, provided critical training to frontline health workers—and, importantly, stayed after the outbreak to continue to build local health systems as well as provide mental health and psychosocial counselling to those affected by the deadly disease.
- This outbreak—now the second-largest ever—is some 750 miles from the previous Ebola epidemic in DRC, which was declared over at the end of July 2018
- We currently operate an Ebola Treatment Center in Mangina, in North Kivu province
- We have constructed nearly 50 screening-and-referral units (SRUs), and are preparing to construct more
- We have drilled boreholes across the region to provide health centres with access to clean water, and rehabilitated waste management systems, including incinerators, sharps pits, burn pits and waste zones
- Since August 21st, 2018, facilities supported by International Medical Corps have conducted more than 1 million screenings, and we have trained 1,711 health staff in infection prevention and control
Ebola Developments In DRC
CEO Nancy Aossey on Ebola in the DRC on PBS Newshour
Visit www.internationalmedicalcorps.org for more information on the Ebola outbreak in the DRC.
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