UNICEF mobilizing hundreds of community workers to fight Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

18 May 2018
An Ebola health worker at Bikoro Hospital, DRC
UNICEF/UN0209049/Naftalin

KINSHASA/DAKAR/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 18 May 2018 – Scaling up in response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF, with the DRC Government and partners, is mobilizing hundreds of community workers to raise awareness among children and families of how to protect themselves against the disease. The community workers will also play a crucial role in providing communities with information on the Ebola vaccination campaign, planned to start next week. 

The community workers, deployed to Bikoro and Mbandaka health zones, aim to help contain the spread of the outbreak through information campaigns, social mobilization and community engagement, including disseminating information through radio, religious institutions, markets, schools and youth associations. 

“It is crucial that communities understand how to protect themselves at home and in public places, especially in health facilities and schools,” said Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Experience in previous outbreaks has shown that when we engage communities in prevention efforts, we stand the best chance of containing the disease.” 

In addition to public information campaigns, UNICEF has provided supplies for water and hygiene, including water purification tablets to the Ebola Treatment Centers and communities in Bikoro and Mbandaka, and installed disinfection points in four further health facilities. 

Hand-washing points have also been installed in 50 targeted schools in affected areas in Mbandaka, and an additional 72 schools in Bikoro will soon receive hand-washing equipment. Schools are being equipped with thermometers to monitor the health status of children. 

“We will do everything we can to make schools safe and ensure that children’s education is not disrupted,” said Dr. Rotigliano. 

Since the declaration of the Ebola outbreak by the Minister of Health on 8 May 2018, UNICEF has deployed 4585 kg of supplies, including soap, tarpaulins, buckets and chlorine to support water, sanitation and hygiene activities. Some 80 metric tons of aid, including health and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies are being shipped from Sierra Leone to the DRC to support the response. 

Media Contacts

Yves Willemot

Chief of Communication

UNICEF DRC

Tel: +243 81 88 46 746

Sylvie Sona

Communication Specialist

UNICEF DRC

Tel: +243817096215

Thierry Delvigne-Jean

Regional Chief of Communication

UNICEF West and Central Africa

Tel: +221 77 819 23 00

Tel: +221 33 831 08 62

Joe English

Communications Specialist

UNICEF New York

Tel: +1 917 893 0692

Patsy Nakell

Chief of Communication

UNICEF Africa Services Unit

Tel: +27 79 495 5938

Christophe Boulierac

Communication Specialist

UNICEF Geneva

Tel: +41 79 963 92 44

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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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