Congo

Congo Cholera outbreak, DREF operation n° MDRCG009 final report

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DREF operation n° MDRCG009

GLIDE n° EP-2011-000165-COG

30 April, 2012

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation’s disaster response system and increases the ability of National Societies to respond to disasters.

Summary: CHF 188,083 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 25 October, 2011 to support the national society in delivering assistance to some 750,000 beneficiaries.

This DREF operation was initially planned for six divisions, namely Brazzaville, Sangha, Cuvette, Likouala, Plateaux and Pool; but considering the high probability and fear that the epidemic would expand to Pointe Noire, the activities of the DREF were extended to Pointe Noire, a border and port city with poor sanitation facilities. DREF operation update No 1 highlighted the achievements in the first six divisions initially targeted and in Pointe Noire.

At the time of launching this operation, 708 cases of cholera were reported nationwide. By 27 December 2011, seven hundred and seventy five cases were registered. Thirty two deaths were also reported, representing a 4.12% lethality rate.

As the National Society (NS) was preparing to complete the activities of this DREF, new cases of cholera were declared in Northern Congo, in Betou where refugees from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been living since 2009. The project to assist DRC refugees is funded by UNHCR annually and the new cholera outbreak occurred at a time when the agreement for 2012 was yet to be signed between IFRC and UNHCR. Thus, DREF funds were requested to help the NS provide rapid response to cholera in Betou for the benefit of both DRC refugees and the host populations. Considering that the timeframe for this operation had already elapsed, a new DREF operation was launched in February 2012 to respond to cholera outbreak in Betou. On 04 March 2012, an explosion occurred in the arms depot of the Congolese National Army in Brazzaville killing more than 250 people and leaving another 13,800 people homeless as their houses were destroyed by the explosion. These populations were accommodated in a temporary site where cases of cholera were declared in late March 2012 and early April 2012. Those cases were managed within the framework of the emergency operation on the Brazzaville explosion (MDRCG011). Presently, there are no reported cholera cases in Brazzaville.

With the funds allocated for this operation, Congolese Red Cross volunteers working in close collaboration with local health authorities sensitized 68,492 people. They also visited 20,623 households and noticed that 2,017 of those households were treating water at home prior to consumption. Volunteers briefed the members of all the households visited on home-based water treatment and conservation techniques. The volunteers also organized 441 sanitation sessions with widespread participation of communities. They also identified 10 suspected cases of cholera and referred them to the nearest health centre after administering them oral rehydration solutions (ORS) at home. Congolese Red Cross volunteers disinfected their households and the means that were used to transport them to the hospital.

Throughout their intervention, Red Cross volunteers reached 68,492 people directly, and an estimated 750,000 people indirectly through the dissemination of cholera sensitization messages using local radio stations and various channels.