Kinshasa/Nairobi, 4 July 2017— The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) welcomes the declaration of the end of the two-month Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
“While this announcement comes as a sigh of relief for the affected communities, as well as the local and international actors involved in the response, this outbreak is yet another reminder of the persistent vulnerability of many communities in Africa,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa.
“So while we celebrate, we also must anticipate the next Ebola outbreak or health threat. We call on our partners to increase their investment in community-based surveillance and response,” Dr Nafo-Traoré said.
The Ebola outbreak was confirmed by the DRC Government on 11 May 2017. Four people died and eight were infected. On Saturday, 1 July 2017, after 42 days without recording a new case, the DRC Government together with the World Health Organization declared the outbreak officially over.
The country’s familiarity with the highly infectious disease, and its expertise in responding to it, played a key role in the control of the outbreak.
“The Red Cross has responded to all past Ebola outbreaks in the country and has a strong network of experts,” said Gregoire Mateso, President of the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “We mobilized senior technical staff who brought their previous experience to fight against this latest outbreak.”
IFRC released just over 380,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to bring supplies and personnel to the affected area, and to support on the ground training of volunteers.
In all, local experts trained 150 Red Cross volunteers in safe burials, community-based surveillance and water and sanitation. They identified and reached out to people who may have been exposed to the virus, provided psychosocial support to families and communities, and served as a critical link between authorities and international organizations on the one hand, and affected or vulnerable communities on the other.
In focus: Ebola
Mirabelle Enaka Kima
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