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UNICEF photo: A caregiver holds a baby in her arms © UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo/2019/Nybo In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, nurseries provide a safe space for children and babies facing the terrifying prospect of separation from their parents.

Democratic Republic of Congo – Ebola response

In 2020, UNICEF and partners plan for:
3,223,053

(target for January to June 2020) out of 37,006,364 people (total target since the beginning of the response) reached with EVD messages through community engagement and interpersonal communication

46,200

(target for January to June 2020) out of 161,394 affected people (total target for August 2018 to June 2020) received psychosocial support

700,000

people benefited from improved access to WASH in areas affected by Ebola or at risk

2020 requirements: US$99,467,332

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 15.1 million3
Total children (<18) in need: 8.1 million4

Total people to be reached: 7.2 million5
Total children to be reached: 3.9 million6

With over 3,300 confirmed cases, including more than 920 children, and over 2,200 deaths1 the Ebola outbreak declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 2018 is the country's largest-ever. The outbreak is also the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak ever, the deadliest on record and the first in an active conflict zone. Eighteen months after the outbreak was declared and had spread to three provinces and beyond national borders, and despite the recent decline in the number of reported cases, ongoing conflict, insecurity and population mobility are undermining timely response and increasing the risk that the virus will experience a resurgence and spread to new provinces. Collective efforts are needed to definitively stop transmission in affected areas and minimize the risk of further spread into neighbouring provinces and countries.The outbreak has disproportionately affected women and children, who represent 56 per cent and 28 per cent of reported cases, respectively.2 Children are also affected by family separation and the loss of parents and caregivers. For families and children, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) has also undermined access to basic services such as health care and education. UNICEF is addressing these needs across its response, including through prevention efforts, treatment and psychological and social care.

Humanitarian strategy

2020 programme targets

PILLAR 1 – Risk communication and community engagement

  • 3,223,053 (target for January to June 2020) out of 37,006,364 people (total target since the beginning of the response) reached with EVD messages through community engagement and interpersonal communication7

PILLAR 1 – Infection prevention and control

  • 63,000 (target for January to June 2020) out of 190,464 people (target for August 2018 to June 2020) reached with hygiene and prevention kits8
  • 531 (target for January to June 2020) out of 4,264 health facilities (target for August 2018 to June 2020) provided with interpersonal communication and WASH supplies in at-risk areas9

PILLAR 1 – Psychosocial support

  • 46,200 (target for January to June 2020) out of 161,394 affected people (total target for August 2018 to June 2020) received psychosocial support10

PILLAR 1 – Nutrition

  • 566 (target for January to June 2020) out of 1,776 children under 6 months (target August 2018 to June 2020) who could not be breastfed received ready-to-use infant formula in Ebola treatment centres11

PILLAR 1 – Education

  • 392,486 (target for January to June 2020) out of 1,613,687 students (total target for August 2018 to June 2020) reached with Ebola prevention information in schools12

PILLAR 3 – WASH

  • 700,000 people benefited from improved access to WASH in areas affected by Ebola or at risk

PILLAR 3 – Child protection

  • 21,855 children vulnerable to/or affected by humanitarian emergencies in areas affected by EVD received group psychosocial support, including in child-friendly spaces

PILLAR 3 – Health

  • 120 health facilities supported (training, rehabilitation, equipment) in areas affected by Ebola or at risk

PILLAR 3 – Education

  • 426,900 school-age boys and girls (5 to 17 years of age) living in areas affected by EVD, or at risk of it, received learning materials

UNICEF is mobilizing all available resources to control, reduce and eliminate Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This includes risk communication and community engagement to increase community awareness, acceptance, involvement and ownership in the response. As part of infection prevention and control, UNICEF is training health workers and improving assessments of health facilities, equipment and decontamination processes in households, health facilities and spaces with confirmed cases of EVD. Psychosocial support is being given to affected people, including contacts, survivors and separated and orphaned children. Patients, including children, are receiving case management (i.e., nursing, paediatric and nutritional care) in Ebola treatment and transit centres. Community-based projects designed to improve response effectiveness and promote community engagement and ownership are addressing priority needs and providing essential services where needed. UNICEF is supporting key services, including clean water and sanitation, education, and uninterrupted routine medical care, especially vaccinations, for crisis-affected children, including separated and orphaned children. It is also making small infrastructure improvements to restore the enabling environment for primary health care and improve community resilience to other epidemics. UNICEF is also strengthening the capacities of health zones and provincial divisions, and implementing preparedness programmes in at-risk areas.
 

Results from Dec. 2019

As of 31 December 2019, UNICEF was able to mobilize US$79 million against the Ebola joint response (45 per cent funded). Through the risk communication and community engagement interventions, UNICEF engaged with influential leaders and groups and enhanced the dialogue and partnerships between the Ebola response teams and communities in affected areas, fostering community ownership and acceptance of the response and enabling real-time exchange of information. UNICEF worked to improve infection, prevention and control in affected communities, including by providing supplies and household decontamination around EVD cases. UNICEF provided psychosocial care, social support, and material assistance to EVD patients and survivors, families and contacts. Through the introduction of the social science analysis cells, UNICEF ran more than 50 quantitative and qualitative studies to better understand the context and population behaviours and concerns, and thereby inform improved interventions. Specific studies were conducted with particular targets such as pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, traditional healers and EVD survivors. In addition to direct implementation, UNICEF reinforced its partnerships with local and international non-governmental organizations for key Ebola response activities.

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Funding requirements

While considerable progress has been made, significant funding is still required to implement the critical activities needed to stop the spread of Ebola. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF funding requirements stand at US$99.5 million to implement critical activities needed to stop the spread of the outbreak and support communities.13

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1 World Health Organization, 'Ebola Virus Disease: Democratic Republic of the Congo' no. 80, WHO, 18 February 2020.
2 Ibid.
3 North Kivu and Ituri total population (estimates for 2020).
4 This number of children is estimated to represent 54 per cent of the total Nord Kivu and Ituri population (estimates for 2020), according to the official demographic estimates from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
5 Total population in the 29 health zones affected by Ebola (estimates for 2019).
6 Proportion of children (under the age of 18 years) in the total population of the 29 health zones affected by Ebola (estimates for 2019).
7 3,223,053 people is the target for January through June 2020. 37,006,364 people is the cumulative target since the beginning of the outbreak (August 2018) through June 2020.
8 63,000 people is the target for January through June 2020. 190,464 people is the cumulative target since the beginning of the outbreak (August 2018) through June 2020. This estimate is based on the epidemiological trend hypothesis of the Strategic Response Plan 4.1.
9 531 health facilities is the target for January through June 2020. 4,264 health facilities is the cumulative target since the beginning of the outbreak (August 2018) through June 2020.
10 46,200 people is the target for January through June 2020. 161,394 people is the cumulative target since the beginning of the outbreak (August 2018) through June 2020.
11 566 children is the target for January through June 2020. 1,776 children is the cumulative target since the beginning of the outbreak (August 2018) through June 2020.
12 392,486 students is the target for January through June 2020. 1,613,687 students is the cumulative target since the beginning of the outbreak (August 2018) through June 2020. This target represents the number of students briefed by their teachers on the guidance note on EVD prevention in schools, a protocol set up by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with UNICEF support.
13 2020 DRC Ebola HAC appeal covers the period up to end of the year and is aligned with the joint national strategic response plan (SRP 4.1) against EVD in North Kivu and Ituri provinces developed by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with financial and technical partners such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF.