As a case of the Ebola Virus is confirmed in Mbandaka, Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is extremely concerned about the potential spread of the virus in a country already reeling from the last Ebola virus outbreak and years of insecurity. This is the third outbreak in the Equateur province since 2018.
Adama Coulibaly, IRC’s Country Director for the DRC said,
"The situation in the DRC has become almost endemic. The DRC Ministry of Health already has considerable experience in containing the virus quickly from previous outbreaks and we hope that the government, with support from humanitarian agencies will be able to stop the spread of the disease and mobilize resources to address the causes of the resurgence of this disease, which still has a high fatality rate. We must do everything necessary to break the chain of transmission.
“IRC has considerable experience in emergency response to Ebola in DRC, we responded in North Kivu in 2018 and 2021 and in Equator in 2018 and 2020. IRC has been supporting health centers to provide testing, contact tracing, infection prevention and control and treatment. The IRC has also been working with communities to support Ministry of Health measures to prevent Ebola. Right now, our teams are in discussions with the Ministry of Health to ascertain needs and prepare for a potential response.
“It is imperative we apply the lessons learned from past outbreaks to stop the spread of Ebola in DRC and beyond its borders. Women and girls are always more adversely affected during crises but are also key participants in the response to the virus and we must ensure the protection of women and girls throughout each of these multiple crises. The IRC stands in solidarity with the affected communities and is calling for immediate action and funding for frontline aid agencies to contain both outbreaks and prevent further spread.”
There are now more people facing a severe hunger crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo than has ever been recorded in any country. DRC ranks in the IRC’s emergency Watchlist top five for the third year in a row, reflecting persistent volatility in a country that is now in its fourth decade of a major humanitarian crisis.
The IRC responded to the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri working in more than 70 health facilities throughout Beni, Mabalako, Butembo, Goma and Mambasa on infection prevention and control (IPC). The IRC is also working on women’s and children’s protection, and integrating Ebola-related protection concerns in areas where the IRC supports primary health care services. The IRC also worked to contain the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The IRC has been working in the DRC since 1996 providing emergency assistance and humanitarian aid to those affected by violence and uprooted from their homes. As the country struggles to recover from decades of conflict and widespread disease, the IRC is focusing our efforts in Tanganyika, Ituri, and North and South Kivu by providing emergency health care, shelter, water, sanitation, and emergency supplies to hundreds of thousands of people in eastern and central Congo.
Source: International Rescue Committee