Democratic Republic of the Congo is experiencing two separate outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease, one in the northwestern province of Equateur, the second in North Kivu, hundreds of miles to the east. International Medical Corps has responded to both of these outbreaks and in September 2018 opened a new 20-bed Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Makeke, Ituri Province, which borders North Kivu. The ETC is co-managed by the Ministry of Health. Additionally, International Medical Corps has completed construction of several Ebola screening and referral units (SRU) that screen thousands of people each month for evidence of the Ebola virus.
The Ebola outbreaks compound an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country caused by decades of violence that, together with hunger and disease, have claimed more than 5 million lives and left more than 13 million in urgent need of assistance. While a civil war officially ended years ago, the eastern areas of DRC remain one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis zones. International Medical Corps is addressing humanitarian needs in Tanganyika, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces with activities focused on primary health care, nutrition and polio surveillance.
According to the United Nations, two million children under 5 are affected by severe acute malnutrition, a figure that represent 12 percent of the world’s caseload for that age group.
Violence among armed groups, communal enmity, land disputes and rampant sexual violence against women and children continue, especially in several areas of North Kivu. International Medical Corps began working in DRC in 1999 and in the years since has provided assistance to more than two million people. About 80 percent of those we have supported were displaced by the war. Today, we work in some of the country’s most remote and volatile areas, often where the presence of other international organizations is extremely limited or non-existent.