The EVD vaccination campaign for front-line workers was launched in August 2019 and ended in November. In total, 4,105 front-line workers were vaccinated.
In collaboration with IOM, UNICEF Burundi supported a risk communication training for 24 community supervisors/mobilizers, communication focal points and hotline operators to enable them to provide adequate information to hotline users, to address rumours and report feedback on EVD interventions from the community.
UNICEF Burundi has supported the Ministry of Health with the distribution of handwashing stations and chlorine in 150 health centres.
Training on Ebola prevention and psychosocial support was provided to 900 education actors in 90 schools who are expected to sensitize more than 55,000 children.
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 21 October to 17 November, 51 new confirmed Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases were reportedi in the DRC. No additional cases have been reported in South Kivu (less than 300 kilometers from Burundi).
Humanitarian Leadership and Coordination
The National Ebola Taskforce (NTF) coordinates EVD preparedness. The NTF was set up under the leadership of the MoH in collaboration with relevant government departments, WHO and other UN agencies (UNICEF, IOM, UNHCR, WFP, OCHA), donors (World Bank, USAID, DFID) and NGOs (ICRC, 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$15 million to implement the preparedness plan, which represents 65 per cent of the revised planned budget (US$21.5 million in total). The remaining gap is US$ 6.5 million. New commitments from World Bank, DFID, 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 with participation of UN agencies, donors and NGOs. The 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 (the latter as a co-lead). Other existing UNICEF led coordination groups such as WASH, Child Protection and Education sectors have included preparedness as a standing item in all meetings.