UNICEF welcomes end of 90-day Ebola surveillance period in eastern DRC and calls for government to maintain lifesaving health services for women and children
Kinshasa, 25 September 2020 – UNICEF welcomes today the end of the 90-day period of enhanced surveillance following the end of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared on 25 June 2020 and urges the Government of DRC to ensure that mothers and children in the areas previously affected by the epidemic continue to receive quality essential health care.
Over 23 months, the 10th Ebola outbreak to have hit DRC and the first in an active conflict zone killed 2,287 people and infected 3,470, while 1,171 survived. Children made up around 28 per cent of all cases. UNICEF recorded 2,571 orphans due to Ebola. The outbreak was particularly challenging to contain due to frequent attacks on healthcare workers, treatment centres and communities, against a backdrop of an already weak and over-burdened health system in an area of the country facing a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
“In the 90 days following the end of Ebola in eastern DRC, we have worked side-by-side with the Congolese government, partners and communities to consolidate the achievements made during the response, notably the engagement and leadership of affected communities, and the improved capacity of healthcare workers to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. We remain on the ground in eastern DRC to support the government in its efforts to strengthen the health system to continue providing quality healthcare for mothers and children”, said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in DRC.
Throughout the Ebola response, UNICEF supported 3,812 health centres with essential water, hygiene and sanitation services, provided more than 16,000 children with psychosocial support, and helped reach more than 37 million people across the country with life-saving information about the disease.
In the 90 days following the end of the outbreak, UNICEF focused on:
- Rehabilitating and equipping health facilities, as well as build the capacity of health workers to provide essential services to Ebola survivors, as well as children who have been orphaned;
- Improving nutrition support to children under five within the community and in the clinics caring for Ebola survivors;
- Setting up safe learning spaces and catch-up programmes for children who missed out on school;
- Improving community-based hygiene practices;
- Providing psychosocial support to children and families who recovered from Ebola.
Some of the activities completed during this time include the construction of four mother and child-friendly spaces, the rehabilitation and equipment of 9 primary schools, and the follow-up care and treatment 232 children who have recovered from Ebola.
A package of services to support Ebola survivors and prevent a possible resurgence of the disease will run for the next 18 months. UNICEF will provide psychological counselling to all survivors and medical follow up of children under 15 including nutritional support to children under two.
While many parts of eastern DRC remain unstable due to the activities of armed groups and ongoing military operations, the country is also responding to another, unrelated Ebola outbreak that began on 1 June 2020 in the north-western province of Equateur, and which has so far killed 50 people and infected 124. The country is also responding to COVID-19, which has so far infected 10,555 people.
Notes for editors:
UNICEF’s donors for the post-Ebola response in eastern DRC were: The World Bank Group, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Government of Canada and the Government of Germany.
UNICEF’s donors for the Ebola response in eastern DRC were: the World Bank Group, the European Commission ECHO, Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Operations (UNEERO), the Government of Japan, the Government of United Kingdom, The Government of Canada, The Government of Germany, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (PGAFF) and the UNICEF National Committees of Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
UNICEF’s partners in the Ebola response in eastern DRC were: International NGOs include ACF, ADRA, Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) - Associazone Volontari per il Servizio Internazionale (AVSI), Medair, Mercy Corps, Norwegian Church Aid, Oxfam Great Britain, Search for Common Ground, Solidarités International, Conseil Danois pour les Refugies. Nations NGOs include: Action de Solidarité pour la Promotion de la Santé Familiale et Développement, Agence d’Achat des Performances, Bureau d’Etude Hydraulique et des Constructions, Bureau Diocésain des Oeuvres Médicales Butembo Beni, Caritas Congo, (CEPROSSAN), Consortium de l’Agriculture Urbaine de Butembo, Croix Rouge de la RDC, Croix Rouge de la RDC Nord Kivu, FECONDE, Mutuelle De Sante Canaan, Programme de Promotion des Soins de Santé Primaire, Réseau Médias pour le Développement (REMED), Solidarité des Associations Féminines pour les Droits de la Femme et de l’Enfant. Gouvernemental institutions include : Division Provinciale Genre, Famille et Enfant de l'Ituri, Commission Nationale de Prevention Routière, Division Provinciale Communication et Médias, Division de l’Information et Presse, Division des Affaires Sociales de l’Ituri, Division Provincial de la Santé Tshopo, Division Provinciale de la Santé Sud Kivu, Division Provinciale de l’Intérieur du Nord Kivu, Division Provinciale des Affaires Sociales, Division Provinciale de l’Enseignement Primaire, Secondaire et Professionnel Nord Kivu, Division Provinciale de la Santé Nord Kivu/Inspection Médicale de la Santé du Nord Kivu, Division Provinciale de la Santé Ituri, Enseignement Primaire, Secondaire et Professionnel Bunia, Enseignement Primaire, Secondaire et Professionnel Nord Kivu II.
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