UNICEF responds to protect and support children and families following declaration of new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
A 46-year-old woman died of Ebola in the eastern town of Beni last week
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 August 2022 –Following the confirmation of a new Ebola case in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UNICEF teams are working to provide support for affected communities.
The government of the DRC confirmed earlier this week that a 46-year-old woman died of Ebola on 15 August 2022 in the eastern town of Beni. UNICEF's first responder teams are supporting zonal coordination, community mobilization, infection control and decontamination activities to keep children and families safe. By pre-positioning infection control and prevention equipment in Beni, decontamination activities were able to begin immediately after the announcement.
Additional staff has also been deployed to support the provision of nutrition and psychosocial services for families and children affected by the outbreak.
"UNICEF teams are on the ground and will remain there as part of our commitment to support the authorities in efforts to contain this new Ebola outbreak and limit its impact on children," said Grant Leaity, UNICEF Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
UNICEF has also supported the health authorities in decontaminating Beni General Hospital and has distributed personal equipment kits to protect families and children against Ebola. As part of the response, UNICEF is also trucking additional materials including mattresses, chlorinated water, and hygiene and sanitation supplies. Through its extensive network of community action cells, UNICEF has been at the forefront of efforts set up to monitor, trace and analyse recent Ebola outbreaks in the DRC.
Congolese health authorities confirmed that the 46-year-old woman died in Beni General Hospital, where she was admitted on 23 July. Sequencing confirmed that her death was linked to the reappearance of the Zaire strain of Ebola (linked to the tenth Ebola outbreak in the DRC in 2018), and not from a new strain of the virus.
The DRC has recorded 15 Ebola outbreaks since 1976, six of which have occurred since 2018. The most recent outbreak prior to the Beni case (the fourteenth) was declared in Mbandaka, Equateur Province last year.