On 1st of August 2018, an Ebola outbreak was declared in Eastern DR Congo.
In the midst of the second most severe humanitarian crisis in the world, Medair is responding to the second worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history.
As of 15th December 2019, there have been:
The Ebola outbreak started just North of Beni
How Medair is responding
Medair is participating strongly in the response, focusing on:
Preventing further spread of Ebola Virus Disease, through supporting infection prevention and control, including WASH, in health facilities and communities
Enabling affected people to participate in Ebola prevention and response interventions and encouraging early care-seeking, through community engagement
Ensuring suspected Ebola patients receive timely care, through safe testing and treatment at transit centres
All of Medair’s response work starts with respectful engagement with communities affected by the outbreak. This is the foundation upon which the other components of our response sit.
Medair meets with influential leaders and key groups to discuss Ebola prevention and response measures, and health workers to speak with their neighbours by doing door-to-door visits.
Community engagement with football club members in Tulizani, Ituri Province.
Where Ebola cases emerge, Medair supports health facilities in the surrounding area to prevent and control infection. Staff working at these health facilities are trained and equipped to safely recognise, isolate, and refer patients to specialised testing and treatment. Anyone who visits the health facility is screened for Ebola symptoms, and checks are also done on in-patients. Where funding allows, Medair implements more comprehensive WASH interventions, ensuring that health facilities have enough latrines and showers, water in sufficient quality and quantity, and a functioning waste management system. These enable staff members to put infection prevention and control procedures into practice.
Robust waste management infrastructure allows health facilities to prevent the spread of infection by safely disposing of waste.
Medair’s WASH work is not limited to health facilities; support has also been provided to schools and communities in areas that have either been directly affected by the Ebola outbreak, or have been deemed at high risk of being affected.
Medair does not operate any Ebola Treatment Centres, but operates transit centres in key areas. At these transit centres, suspected Ebola patients receive standardised medical care while blood samples are sent to the nearest laboratory for testing. If it is confirmed that the patient has Ebola, they are swiftly referred to the closest treatment centre. Transit centres are staffed by a locally recruited team, and represent a trusted, accessible option for people living nearby to access treatment quickly.
September 2019: construction work on an Ebola Transit Centre in Kahamba nears completion.
Highlights from Medair’s first 12 months of Ebola Response in Eastern DR Congo:
Engaged with communities in 67 health areas to spread knowledge of prevention measures and how to recognise and safely refer suspected Ebola patients
Supported over 100 health facilities to continue providing services safely
Trained 1,897 health workers on infection prevention and control
Tested and treated 683 patients with suspected Ebola at a transit centre, referring those who tested positive for further specialised treatment.
The Ebola outbreak receives much more news coverage and the response is much better funded relative to other crises in DR Congo, where:
An estimated 4.5 million people are internally displaced.
From 2012-2017, over 150,000 people died of malaria.
From 1 January to 14 September 2019, there were 187,000 cases of measles, with over 3,700 deaths.
These crises reinforce the importance of ensuring that health facilities are supported to provide primary health care: ensuring that people continue to access services and do not needlessly die of malaria, that infants do not miss vaccinations, and that mothers give birth in a hygienic environment, assisted by skilled health care providers.
Medair’s emergency response work in DR Congo is made possible by the generous support of the US Agency for International Development, the EC Directorate-General for EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and generous private donors.
What can I do to help?
We are very grateful for your support. You can help by:
praying for affected communities and organisations on the ground
raising awareness about this crisis within your family, friends and community
making a donation; your gift will be allocated to the Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, and future Medair emergency responses around the world.
 According to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, DR Congo has the second most people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance (12.8M in 2019), after Yemen (24.1M in 2019).