• The risk of cross-border transmission of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Burundi remains high with 49 new cases of EVD reported in DRC between 23 September and 20 October.
• The EVD vaccination campaign for front-line workers was launched in August 2019. As of 13 October, 3,540 front-line workers have been vaccinated.
• A total of 620 teachers, school directors and members of school management committees (including 316 women) were trained on how to prevent EVD at the school level.
• A total of 100 handwashing stations and soap was distributed in 100 schools in priority districts where more than 45,000 schoolchildren learned about Ebola prevention and control and how to use the handwashing stations for hygiene.
With the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), neighbouring countries (including Burundi) are at high risk of cross-border transmission. From 23 September to 20 October, 49 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases were reported with 43 deathsi. During the reporting period, no cases of EVD were reported in South Kivu (less than 300 kilometres from Burundi).
Humanitarian Leadership and Coordination
The National Ebola Taskforce (NTF) coordinates EVD preparedness. The NTF was set up under the leadership of the Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with relevant government departments, WHO and other UN agencies (UNICEF,
IOM, UNHCR, WFP and OCHA), donors (World Bank, USAID and DFID) and NGOs (ICRC and MSF-OCB). The NTF is meant to hold weekly meetings; however, the last meeting was held on 11 September 2019. In May 2019, thematic groups were established and re-structured in line with the six EVD pillars: surveillance, case management, laboratory, IPC/WASH, communication and community engagement and logistics. In June 2019, the NTF revised the National Plan through the development of a comprehensive costed plan for each pillar for preparedness activities until 31 December 2019.
Since May 2018, the national taskforce for EVD has mobilized US$ 11.9 million to implement the preparedness plan, which represents 56 per cent of the revised planned budget (US$ 21.5 million in total). New commitments from World Bank, DFID and USAID are being finalized.
Partner support for EVD preparedness
UN agencies (including UNICEF) operate within the government coordination and response structures. WHO and OCHA are the technical secretariat of weekly strategic EVD coordination meetings at the national level, which include participation of UN agencies, donors and NGOs. The weekly meeting is chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator. UN EVD technical meetings are also conducted on a weekly basis. Ad-hoc meetings and working sessions with UN agencies and NGOs are also convened by WHO as needed.
UNICEF actively participates in these meetings and provides technical support to the NTF and several sub-committees, including IPC/WASH, Case Management, Logistics and Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE), the latter as a co-lead. Other existing UNICEF-led coordination groups such as the WASH, Child Protection and Education sectors have included preparedness as a standing item in all meetings.