International Medical Corps Is Helping to Respond to New Cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
In late July, an outbreak of Ebola in a northwest province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was officially declared over. Yet on August 1, the government confirmed new cases of the deadly virus in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, more than 1,500 miles from the earlier outbreak. Since then, the outbreak has grown to become the second-largest ever, exceeded in size only by the 2014 outbreak in West Africa.
International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team (ERT) was already in DRC responding to the most recent outbreak, in Equateur Province. The ERT is now working with the Ministry of Health to help with infection prevention, monitoring and surveillance. As part of our efforts to build local response capacity, we built, opened and operated an Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Makeke and are currently operating an ETC in Mangina, the initial epicenter of the outbreak. In addition to providing treatment, International Medical Corps has constructed 19 screening-and-referral units in Beni, Mangina and Butembo. We remain in close contact with the Ministry of Health, local health officials and the international community to identify any additional support we can provide.
International Medical Corps has extensive experience and expertise in stopping the spread of Ebola, having responded in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea-Bissau in the wake of the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic. We served as a key implementation partner for the World Health Organization, fielding a team of more than 1,500 and treating nearly 460 Ebola-positive patients in our five treatment centers. We helped host governments prevent further transmission of the virus, provided critical training to frontline health workers—and, importantly, stayed after the outbreak to continue to build local health systems and provide mental health and psychosocial counseling to those affected by the deadly disease.
We will build on our breadth and depth of experience in DRC, where we’ve provided vital health services since 1999, as we continue to support the Ministry of Health’s efforts to contain the Ebola virus.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s happening now?
In early August, one week after the most recent Ebola outbreak was declared over and a 90-day period of heightened vigilance and surveillance efforts began, new cases of the Ebola virus were confirmed by the Ministry of Health in North Kivu.
What are the potential consequences?
Though the end of one Ebola epidemic was declared, new cases have appeared in North Kivu, a province more than 1,500 miles from the earlier outbreak.
Located in northeastern DRC, North Kivu sits along the border with Uganda and Rwanda. Insecurity will likely further complicate efforts to contain the deadly virus, as the province has been plagued by ongoing conflict for the last 20 years.
How is International Medical Corps responding?
International Medical Corps’ team in DRC is ramping up disease surveillance and infection prevention activities in North Kivu. We remain in close contact with the Ministry of Health, local health officials and the international community to identify any additional support we can provide.
In response to the previous Ebola outbreak, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team has deployed to North Kivu and are working in alignment with the World Health Organization and the DRC’s Ministry of Health, with ongoing assessments in Beni and Mangina to help increase infection prevention, step up monitoring and surveillance, and build local response capacity. Other International Medical Corps staff remain on standby in Kinshasa and Mbandaka to deploy as necessary.
Does International Medical Corps have experience with Ebola?
We have extensive experience and expertise in stopping the spread of Ebola, having responded in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea-Bissau in the wake of the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic. With a team of more than 1,500 staff, we treated a total of nearly 460 Ebola-positive patients in our five treatment units, helped host governments prevent further transmission of the virus, provided critical training to frontline health workers—and, importantly, stayed after the outbreak to continue to build local health systems as well as provide mental health and psychosocial counselling to those affected by the deadly disease.
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We talk with Dr. Adam Levine, the technical lead of International Medical Corps’ Ebola response, about the challenges facing those preparing to respond to the rapidly brewing emergency in Democratic Republic of Congo.READ MORE
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