New Ebola epidemic in the DRC: UNICEF mobilizes staff and supplies to help with the response

Photo: OMS

Following the August 1 announcement by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of a new Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu, UNICEF has mobilized its teams to help contain the spread of the disease and protect children.

“The response to this latest EVD outbreak could be complicated by armed conflict and insecurity in the affected area,” said Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in the DRC.

This is the tenth epidemic in DRC since 1976 and comes just a few days after the declaration of the end of the Ebola epidemic in the western Province of Equateur that began in mid-May. At this stage, there is no indication that the outbreaks in Equateur and North Kivu are linked.

The Congolese Government has activated its response plan and called in its partners, including UNICEF, to participate in the response. A UNICEF team with the Deputy Representative of UNICEF DRC and the head of the field office for UNICEF in Goma, traveled on 2 August with the Minister of Health, the Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to the epicenter of the epidemic to analyze the situation and organize the response.

“UNICEF’s contribution to the response will focus on communication activities to inform and protect the local community; promoting access to safe water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene practices to help prevent further spread of the disease; and providing psychosocial support to children and families affected by the disease,” said Dr. Rotigliano.

UNICEF has deployed a team of five staff members to Beni for the response, including two health specialists, two communication specialists and one water, sanitation and hygiene specialist from the Ebola-response team in the Province of Equateur. Additional deployment from the head office of Kinshasa, and the field offices of Goma, Bunia and other locations are being finalized.

Health, water, sanitation and hygiene and communication supplies will be sent to the affected area in the coming days, including 300 laser thermometers to monitor the health conditions of people in the affected region and 2,000 kg of chlorine to treat water to help contain the spread of the disease.

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Yves Willemot

Yves Willemot est le chef de l’Équipe InfoCom de l’UNICEF RDC. Plus que tout, ce qui est important pour lui c'est d'être "tous ensemble pour les enfants".

Yves Willemot is Head of the UNICEF DRC InfoCom Team. More than anything, he believes that the most important is to "be together for the children".

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