DR Congo

Donor ALERT: Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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On 11 May 2017 the Democratic Republic of the Congo notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Likati health zone, Bas Uele Province, in the northern part of the country. As of 20 May, 37 cases of suspected Ebola and four deaths had been reported. The risk to public health from this outbreak is currently assessed as being high at the national level, moderate at the regional level, and low at the global level.

The Minister of Public Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has requested WHO's support to strengthen the response to the outbreak, and coordinate the support of major UN, NGO and International Organizations, and partners in the Global Outbreaks Alert and Response Network.

The overall goal of the response is to rapidly stop the spread of EVD by identifying and ending all transmission chains and ensuring that all patients have rapid access to safe, high-quality care. WHO is working closely with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and key partners to implement a comprehensive response based on six pillars of activity.

Funding is urgently needed to ensure that WHO and partners can effectively support the Government to implement activities in the following areas as part of the joint rapid response:

  • Surveillance, case investigation and contact tracing (with US CDC and MSF): This requires teams of surveillance officers and contact tracers, as well as several hundred trained community volunteers in affected areas. To respond quickly to new alerts, WHO also plans to have five rapid case investigation teams. Support is also needed for two mobile laboratories that have been established in the affected province to speed up case investigation.

  • Case management and infection prevention and control: An Ebola Treatment Centre will be established to provide access to lifesaving therapeutics and treatments. ALIMA, and MSF are working to set up the facilities that can quickly and safely identify and triage patients with suspected EVD and ensure safe transportation services.

  • Safe and dignified burial and decontamination will be led by the Red Cross, and will initially consist of three teams trained to conduct safe and dignified burials and 10 household decontamination teams. Community engagement and social mobilization: Working closely with the MoH and partners, UNICEF will be supported by WHO to develop and run public risk communications campaigns, and 200 community engagement officers to provide appropriate and well-targeted information to affected communities.

  • Emergency vaccination: WHO and MSF are working with the MoH to consider conducting ring vaccination as part of the response. An estimated 5000 doses of the experimental rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine may be required.

  • Coordination and operations support: WHO and partners are working with the MoH to establish an Emergency Operations Center in the affected province to strengthen coordination; forward logistics hubs to provide operational support for the response; and measures to ensure the security and safety of staff.

Initial 6-month budget requested by WHO, lead agencies and response partners: US$ 10.5 million.

For further information regarding funding support, please contact Kerstin Bycroft at bycroftk@who.int; +41 22 7911072