Democratic Republic of the Congo: Ebola Outbreak DREF n° MDRCD020 Operations Update n°1

This Operations Update reports on activities of the DREF operation launched on 14 May 2017 to tackle Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in DRC.

On 15 May 2017, a DREF operation to stop the progress of an EVD outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was launched, seeking CHF 199,110 to assist 5,831 people for 3 months.

Since the start of this operation, major progress towards operational plan has been achieved. During the reporting period, a total of 1,354 people (23%) against initial target of 5,831 people have been reached with thematic activities of contact tracing, social mobilization on safe and dignified burials (SDB) and infection prevention and control (IPC), community engagement and accountability (CEA) and psychosocial support. Under the training component, a total of 196 volunteers out of 150 volunteers targeted initially (131%) have been trained on water, sanitation and hygiene (WATSAN), social mobilization and psychosocial support. After evaluation and post-test, a pool of 171 volunteers (114%) is working. This training was conducted by the RDRT and the DRC Red Cross WATSAN department in collaboration with Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), MSF, WHO and UNICEF.

Although the situation gradually improves, surveillance, social mobilization, CEA and psychosocial support activities need to be extended to the people who remained unassisted in the affected communities. The DRC Red Cross in coordination with other partners, including the MoPH, WHO and UNICEF will continue its intervention. Therefore, this operation update revises the EPoA of the current DREF operation, requests for an extension of the timeframe of this operation by one month (new end date: 14 September 2017) and for an additional allocation of CHF 193,627to ensure a proper surveillance system for an additional 12,831 people (new target: 18,662 people) in the Likati Health Zone of Bas-Uele Province, DRC. This will be done through awareness-raising, hygiene promotion, early warning system, surveillance/contact tracing, safe and dignified burials (SDB), psychosocial support and community engagement and accountability(CEA)/social mobilization.

The expenditure of first DREF allocation stands at CHF 84,170 (42%) as of 1 June 2017

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 22 April 2017, the NAMBWA health centre received a 39-year-old male subject presenting symptoms including fever, asthenia, vomiting of blood, bloody diarrhoea, haematuria, epistaxis and extreme fatigue. He was referred to the Reference General Hospital (RGH) of Likati, where he died 12 km from the RGH. A few days later, the driver and the person carrying the index case behind the motor cycle developed the same signs and symptoms. The death of the driver, who was a family member of the patient, was later announced.

The Likati health zone is located within the Bas-Uelé province, at 165 km from the city of Buta and only accessible by very poor road (five days by vehicle and two days by motorcycle). Likati has a population of 74,648 inhabitants in an area of 10,426 km2 . Population density is approximately 7 people / Km2 . Low population density and poor transportation routes will limit the likelihood of disease spread. However, this will inhibit large response without significant logistics support.

What is needed is to ensure that the life span of the ongoing operation goes beyond the 42-day waiting period before the area is declared Ebola free. The last confirmed case was on 11 May which makes it 20 days as of 31 May 2017. This position is further justified by WHO computer simulations of the outbreak scenarios which predicts that there is 67% chance that there will be no further case in the next one month. The MoPH has approved the RVSV-ZEBOV Ebola Vaccine amongst those at high risk of contracting the disease, the 100% efficacy of this vaccine further strengthens the confidence that this outbreak will be contained.

The strategy on the way forward is to go for an extended DREF operation and solicit for additional funding as required. However, the scope (set of activities) of DRC Red Cross intervention will remain the same. This Operations Update reports on activities of the DREF operation launched on 14 May 2017 to tackle Ebola virus disease outbreak in DRC. The operation is being revised to widen the scope of intervention and reach an additional 12,831 people, bringing the overall number of targeted persons to 18,662 people, seeking additional CHF 193,627for extended period up to 14 September 2017.