Ebola epidemic in the Equateur province: the Minister of Public Health visits affected zones, accompanied by the Representatives of WHO and UNICEF

Report
from World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund
Published on 14 May 2018 View Original

In order to coordinate the response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic declared on 8 May 2018, the Minister of Public Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) visited Mbandaka and the Bikoro health zone today. He was accompanied by Representatives of WHO and UNICEF.

During his visit, the Minister of Public Health, Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, evaluated the situation in the zones affected by the epidemic, as well as the established response. The Minister was accompanied by the WHO Representative in the DRC, Dr Allarangar Yokouidé, and the UNICEF Representative in the DRC, Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano. During the joint mission on Saturday, the Minister of Public Health highlighted the importance of good collaboration for the response to the ninth Ebola virus disease epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1976: “It is essential that we bring together all efforts, and that we align ourselves with the governmental response plan that was approved in order to combat this new epidemic in a rapid and effective manner.”

The Minister and the WHO and UNICEF Representatives visited Mbandaka, the capital of the Equateur province, as well as the Bikoro health zone, the supposed epicentre of the epidemic. The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flight that brought the delegation to Bikoro deployed sanitation goods in order to reinforce basic health care in the local health centres, as well as individual protection kits for health professionals on the frontline. “The WHO is in the midst of reinforcing its presence by positioning around ten epidemiologists who will be distributed along the Mbandaka, Bikoro and Iboko axes in order to investigate the alerts,” highlighted Dr Allarangar Yokouidé, the WHO Representative in the DRC.

The mission was composed of epidemiologists, logisticians, data managers, and communication specialists in risk, social mobilisation, and community engagement. They were called upon to strengthen the response to the disease.

With the risk of propagation remaining high in the Equateur province, all material, human, logistic and financial means must be mobilised to contain this dangerous epidemic at its roots. During the mission, the UNICEF Representative in the DRC, Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano, recalled, “UNICEF supports the response established by the DRC Government by providing its expertise in the domains of community-focused communication, psychosocial aid, and water, sanitation and hygiene, in order to prevent the propagation of the disease.”

In support for the response to this new Ebola epidemic, Mrs Kim Bolduc, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the DRC, mobilised supplementary funds from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in record time in order to allow for the rapid suppression of this epidemic.

Press contacts:

– Jessica Ilunga, Communications Officer, Ministery of Public Health, tel +243 820 307 872; jessica.t.ilunga@gmail.com
– Eugene Kabambi, Communications Officer, WHO DRC; tel +243 81 71 51 697; kabambie@who.int
– Yves Willemot, Communications Chief, UNICEF DRC; tel +243 81 88 46 746; ywillemot@unicef.org