KINSHASA/DAKAR/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 5 September 2018 – UNICEF and its partners have now reached 2,454,000 people with Ebola prevention messages since the start of the latest outbreak in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Ebola awareness and prevention efforts have been rolled out in seven health zones, in close collaboration with the local communities, including 1,715 local community workers.
“An increasing number of communities are now aware of Ebola and how to prevent its transmission,” said Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in the DRC. “The active involvement of concerned communities is key to stopping the spread of the disease. We are working closely with them to promote handwashing and good hygiene practices, to accept dignified and safe funerals and to identify and assist people that might be infected with the virus.”
At-risk populations are being reached through community engagement, interpersonal communication, public animations, radio, door-to-door activities, church meetings and adolescent groups. Prevention messages are shared in French, Lingala, Swahili and Nande so that everyone can learn how to protect oneself against the virus and contain its spread.
Eight Ebola survivors have joined the communication teams, sharing their experiences with local communities and stressing the importance of early detection and treatment of people with Ebola-like symptoms.
UNICEF continues to put children at the heart of its response to the outbreak. In support of local authorities, since the beginning of the response, UNICEF and its partners have:
- Briefed and engaged in communication activities 2,560 influential leaders and representatives of different social and professional networks;
- Sensitized more than 4,500 people eligible for the Ebola vaccination about the benefits of the vaccine;
- Provided safe drinking water to more than 500,000 people in the affected areas;
- Assisted 91 unaccompanied children and orphans as well as 101 families affected by the disease;
- Trained more than 150 psychosocial workers to support affected families and their children;
- Trained and deployed 7 nutrition specialists to ensure nutritional assistance to the patients in the Ebola Treatment Centres in Mangina and Beni;
- Installed 972 hand washing units and distributed 324 laser thermometers in 162 targeted schools in Mangina and Beni.
In the context of the start of the school year, UNICEF is continuing its prevention efforts in schools, while pursuing its efforts in communication, WASH and psycho-social assistance to families that have been affected by the virus.
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