KINSHASA, 10 August 2018 – Following the launch of the vaccination campaign against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on August 8th, UNICEF has mobilized communication specialists to inform and engage communities affected by the disease as the vaccination campaign is being rolled-out.
“Our communication specialists are on the ground and providing information to affected communities about the vaccination campaign,” said Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in the DRC. “The previous Ebola outbreak demonstrated that community sensitization is instrumental in preventing the spread of the disease and ensuring participation in vaccination efforts.”
As part of the Joint Response Plan of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in coordination with WHO and UNICEF, the vaccine is given for free and on a voluntary basis to anyone who has been in contact with an infected person.
UNICEF has deployed twelve communication specialists to affected areas in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces to work with community workers. They are providing pre-counselling for people eligible to receive the vaccination and offering basic information about the vaccine to the affected communities.
These efforts are part of the overall social mobilization and community communication that UNICEF is running with its partners to sensitize the population about Ebola.
Together with its partners, UNICEF has so far:
- Briefed 60 community leaders on preventive messages in the affected Magina health area in the health zone of Mabalako;
- Trained 100 local community workers in the heath zone of Beni for them to organise outreach activities in local communities;
- Worked with 79 local journalists and nine radio stations in Beni and Goma to engage in communication activities;
- Distributed Ebola prevention messages in 241 churches in the Beni health zone.
UNICEF is also supporting the deployment of additional community workers to the affected region to increase the information-sharing efforts to promote safe hygiene and sanitation practices, and to support the vaccination campaign.