Life after Ebola

In Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, 1,171 people survived the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

Jean-Claude Wenga (translated from French by Dorsaf N. James)
Jeanne, 7 ans, lève les deux mains en signe de victoire
UNICEF DRC Wenga
28 September 2020

Jeanne, 7, contracted the Ebola virus as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was preparing to declare the end of the epidemic in April 2020. When the little girl started to be sick, her mother immediately recognized the symptoms as she, herself, had been infected a few months before.

“I was very afraid”, recalls Jeanne who was quickly taken care of at the Beni Ebola treatment center by doctors, nutritionists, and psychologists supported by UNICEF. After surviving the disease, herself, Jeanne's mother was immune to the virus and stayed by her daughter bedside throughout her recovery.

After long days of fear and uncertainty, Jeanne was declared cured and left the Ebola treatment center to the applause of health workers and the response team.

I was very happy to go home”, Jeanne said with a big smile.

Since leaving the treatment center, Jeanne has visited a UNICEF supported clinic once a month, where doctors, nutritionists, and pediatricians provide a long-term follow-up for Ebola survivors. In addition to medical follow-up, the survivors are accompanied by psychosocial assistants and psychologists. Survivors can experience different forms of stigma from family members and more from their community.

Jeanne is now in good health with her mother and her little sister Vainqueur, born a few weeks ago. “When Vainqueur grows up, I will tell her our story”, concludes Jeanne, very proud to see her little sister grow up.

Jeanne, 7 ans, regarde affectueusement sa petite soeur qui se trouve dans les bras de sa mère
UNICEF DRC Wenga

The Ebola epidemic in eastern DRC, during which 3,470 cases were counted including 2,287 death and 1,171 survivors, was declared over on 25 June 2020. Thanks to the support of the World Bank Group, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Government of Canada and Germany, UNICEF team remained in the field alongside the Government and its partners during the 90 days of enhanced monitoring.