Social Science and Behavioural Data Compilation (No. 4), Ebola Outbreak Eastern DRC June-August 2019

This rapid compilation of data analyses provides a ‘stock-take’ of social science and behavioural data related to the on-going outbreak of Ebola in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces. Based on data gathered and analysed by organisations working in the Ebola response and in the region more broadly, it explores convergences and divergences between datasets and, when possible, differences by geographic area, demographic group, time period and other relevant variables. Data sources are listed at the end of the document. This is the fourth data synthesis brief produced by the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP) and focuses on data published between June and August 2019. It builds on the previous three data synthesis briefs, the first focusing on data from August October 2018, the second on data from November 2018 to January 2019, and the third on data from February to May 2019.

At the time of publication (as of 6 October 2019), 3,205 cases had been reported (3,091 confirmed and 114 probable) of which 2,142 died. 2 The overall case fatality ratio was 67%, the same as the rate in the middle of June 2019. 3,4. The majority of the 73 confirmed cases identified between 16 September and 6 October were from the health zones of Mambasa (30%; n=22) and Mandima (23%, n=17).

This brief was prepared by Kevin Bardosh (University of Washington), Theresa Jones and Juliet Bedford (Anthrologica), with support from SSHAP and GOARN-R Social Science Group. Feedback was also provided by colleagues from UNICEF, WHO, IFRC, the US CDC, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), Oxfam, Novetta, FHI 360, Search for Common Ground and Bethesda Counseling Center.

Community feedback: themes and questions

Multiple organisations including the IFRC and the National Society of the Red Cross in DRC, UNICEF, WHO, Oxfam, FHI-360 other INGOs and local partners continue to compile community feedback and conduct operational research in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. According to organisations working on the ground, community feedback and research findings are analysed and discussed in Ministry of Health-led Ebola coordination structures to adjust and improve response actions. These structures include the Emergency Operations Centre, various Commissions (particularly the Communication Commission), and working groups on community feedback established in Butembo and Katwa.

The IFRC (with support from CDC) has been systematically collecting and analysing community feedback gathered from the National Society of the Red Cross since August 2018.5 The table below presents the five themes most frequently identified in the community feedback gathered by Red Cross volunteers between 1 June and 31 August 2019 (rank 1 being the most frequently raised theme).During the reporting period 27,977 comments categorised as ‘rumours’, ‘observations’ or ‘beliefs’ were analysed. Issues related to the causes of Ebola, vaccine suspicions and non-acceptance and Ebola being a scheme of the government or others continued to dominate (similar to the first months of the outbreak August-September 2018). In the February-May 2019 period, concerns around the quality of the health system were also emphasised, and these issues continued to dominate feedback in the period June-August 2019.