The Ebola outbreak in northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the world’s second largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in an active conflict zone. As of 12 January, 2020, a total of 3,280 confirmed cases have been reported, including 2,235 deaths.
Almost 30% of Ebola cases are children - an unprecedented proportion - and the impact is not limited to those who have been infected.
"This is an emergency. There is a very real risk that the Ebola outbreak could spread to neighboring countries, so the international community should urgently come together to make sure that doesn’t happen. This means increasing investment for the response to ensure partners on the ground have the resources they need to treat every single case and trace every single contact. Ebola is relentless, so we must be too in stopping its spread – children and families in the region deserve nothing less."
What is the impact on children?
This outbreak is infecting more children than previous outbreaks. As of 12 January, there had been 959 infections among children. This represents almost 30% of total cases, compared with about 20% in previous outbreaks. Young children – those below five years old, are especially hard hit. They, in turn, are infecting women.
Preventing infection among children must be at the heart of the overall Ebola response. Young children are at higher risk than adults – which is why they need specialized attention. But Ebola also affects children very differently from adults, and the response needs to also factor in their very specific psychological and social needs.
What is UNICEF's role?
Our mission is to protect children from the consequences of the Ebola virus.
We inform communities about the disease, how to protect themselves and how to contain the spread of the epidemic.
UNICEF and its partners support the Government in the response to Ebola.
We make water, hygiene and sanitation available in communities, schools and health centers.
We provide psychosocial support to help families, including children, affected by the disease
We provide nutritional care for infected people and children whose parents are in quarantine.
We put prevention measures in place in schools to create a protective environment.
As the epidemic continues, we coordinate our efforts with our partners to ensure the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children.
separated and orphaned children have been assisted
persons have been informed and made aware of the disease
schools have been equipped with handwashing facilities
infants received nutritional assistance
UNICEF’s response to the Ebola epidemic is supported by the World Bank, the European Commission – European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, Gavi - the Vaccine Alliance, the United States Agency for International Development, the Central Emergency Response Fund and the Government of Japan. UNICEF is also supported by the German Committee for UNICEF, the World Bank Group’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, the United Kingdom and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.