• The Ebola outbreak in the northeast of the DRC, the secondlargest in world history, claimed the lives of 2,287 of the 3,324 patients affected. The new outbreak, in Équateur Province, has affected eight of the province’s 17 health zones, with 117 confirmed cases and 50 deaths.
• 360,292 people have been vaccinated against Ebola (including 27,303 in Équateur).
INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS’ RESPONSE
• International Medical Corps’ Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have managed more than 100 patients at Ebola Treatment Centers (ETCs) in Bikoro and Mbandaka, including more than 20 confirmed cases.
• On June 30, when the Mangina ETC was decommissioned, the facility had cared for 3,859 suspected and 422 confirmed Ebola patients.
• International Medical Corps is providing IPC support to 196 health facilities to ensure that healthcare delivery is safe, including 20 new facilities in Équateur, where there is a new Ebola outbreak.
• Since August 21, 2018, screening and referral units (SRUs) supported by International Medical Corps have provided over 1,336, 241 screenings for Ebola and 39,789 for COVID-19
International Medical Corps at the forefront of medical and public health research August 12, 2019, was a memorable day. Almost half a century after the first outbreak of Ebola in history was confirmed, 1 a groundbreaking multi-center study (the PALM2 Trial) identified two new pharmaceutical treatments that—when compared to standard care and other previously used treatments—demonstrated superior ability to substantially reduce death rates in Ebola patients, especially when administered early. International Medical Corps’ Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Mangina was one of the enrollment sites of this multi-center study. During the follow up phase of the study, it enrolled the greatest number of patients.
In the coming months, International Medical Corps will continue to leverage its research experience to inform medical and public health practices. This includes leading a study on Ebola vaccine hesitancy in the DRC that seeks to understand the driving factors behind community acceptance or refusal of the Ebola vaccine, despite its proven efficacy.3 This mixed-methods study, funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), utilizes household surveys, key informant interviews and focus group discussions, and engages health workers, communities and other stakeholders. In addition to contributing to the global discussion on vaccine hesitancy in general, the study findings will provide insights on how to engage communities for new vaccines, especially those targeting epidemic-prone diseases like COVID-19. This study will add to International Medical Corps’ efforts to help the DRC government prepare for the introduction of potential COVID-19 vaccines. Another multi-center study (funded by the US Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance), scheduled to begin this September, seeks to understand the impact of nutritional status on patient outcomes in suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. This will include monitoring the clinical course of the disease, length of admission and incidence of complications. The findings from these studies not only will help strengthen outbreak response efforts in the DRC but will also support efforts to prevent outbreaks and improve patient care worldwide. They add to the comprehensive efforts International Medical Corps has been making with the support of donors over the last quarter of a century to improve healthcare and save lives in the DRC, one of Africa’s most populated countries.