UNICEF supplies and equipment reach Beni to respond to new Ebola outbreak
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GOMA, 13 OCTOBER 2021 – Supplies and equipment have reached Beni as part of the Ebola response. Vital water and sanitation, infection prevention and control and nutrition supplies will be used to respond to the resurgence of Ebola in Beni, North Kivu province, in eastern DRC.
The supplies will be distributed to local health centres and to the affected communities to limit the risk of contamination and exposure to the virus.
“The arrival of these essential supplies is a key first step in the response to this latest resurgence of Ebola, as they will help slow down the spread of the virus. The city of Beni can rely on an improved water supply network in addition to boreholes and standpipes that UNICEF helped install during the 10th and 11th Ebola outbreaks. But it is important that we continue strengthening infection control in key areas of the city and neighboring villages”, said Medard Onobaiso, Chief of UNICEF’s Field Office in Beni.
UNICEF has also sent additional staff to Beni to work closely with the health authorities to reinforce its response to the outbreak.
A network of 13 Community Action Cells (CACs) are accompanying local health authorities in their tracking efforts to identify people linked to confirmed or probable Ebola cases. Drawn from the communities in which they work, the CACs play an important role in listening to communities’ concerns, disseminate information and overcome mistrust and resistance to the work of the teams on the ground.
UNICEF has already allocated 550,000 US dollars of its own funds to the response in the areas of WASH, nutrition, communication for development and protection (including measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse in the response). The UN children’s agency is working with the Congolese authorities and other partners on a three-month response plan and associated budget.
This latest resurgence of the Ebola virus was declared on 8 October 2021 following the death of a 3-year-old child in Beni, 55km from Butembo, the epicenter of the last outbreak that ended on 3 May 2021.