Democratic Republic of the Congo: Polio outbreak Emergency Plan of Action Final Report (EPoA) DREF n° MDRCD025

Description of the disaster

In early February 2018, suspected cases of poliomyelitis were reported in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Therefore, laboratory tests were carried out at the National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB) of Kinshasa, the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in South Africa and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States of America. All three laboratories confirmed the presence of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in the DRC.

Laboratory analyses indicated that cVDPV2 (circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2) is rife mainly in communities where children are not vaccinated with OPV, or when the vaccination coverage is really poor. The cVDPV2 epidemic is affecting provinces where people were reluctant to allow their children to receive OPV because of their religious beliefs.

Given the intensity of population movements, it is easy to imagine how quickly the epidemic would have spread, not only to neighbouring provinces, but also to neighbouring countries. Therefore, it was urgent to vaccinate all children in these localities and conduct community monitoring of unvaccinated children to curb the rising trend of the outbreak.

As such, a DREF operation was launched on 20 April 2018 to support the DRC RC volunteers to conduct door-to- door visits to register all unvaccinated children and report them to health personnel for proper vaccination. As such, the overall objective In addition, between rounds (SIA3 1 and SIA 2), DRC RC volunteers were to work on implementable lessons learned in order to improve any errors or oversights from the first round of the campaign.

By July 2018, new cases of polio were registered in Kikula and Yamongili in the Province of Mongala.

Government quickly organised a response campaign in the area from 7 to 8 July. The DRC RC could not participate in that campaign because their teams were busy with the Ebola response operation. However, Government was planning another campaign for 26 July in Gheti health zone, as such a no-cost two months timeframe extension was granted to allow the NS be able to participate fully in the planned campaign in Gheti (Round 0), and to participate in the campaign (Round 1) scheduled one month after the 26 July 2018. An Operation update was thus published on 20 July 2018.