Grim situation in DR Congo as Ebola cases reach 2,000

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Espoir Mahamba, a public health promoter for Oxfam, teaches a church congregation in Mangina about Ebola. John Wessels/Oxfam

In response to the number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reaching 2000, Oxfam’s Country Director in the DRC, Corinne N’Daw said:

“It is clear the current response to tackle Ebola isn’t working. No matter how effective treatment is, if people don’t trust or understand it, they will not use it.

“Our teams are still meeting people on a daily basis who don’t believe Ebola is real. While we are working to challenge that, many cases are going un-noticed because people with symptoms have been avoiding treatment. This lack of trust makes it impossible to break the chain of transmission.

“Also, the number of violent attacks over the last few months has meant most aid organizations, including Oxfam, have had to repeatedly suspend activities. This has seriously hampered the ability to vaccinate people, decontaminate houses and carry out safe burials, resulting in a peak in cases. We fear another peak could happen in the next few weeks.

“Since the UN has stepped up their leadership in the Ebola response and is going to scale-up humanitarian aid, there’s an opportunity to reset the response and make sure it is focused on building this crucial trust with communities, without which we won’t be able to win the fight against Ebola.”

//ENDS

Notes to editors: 

Oxfam is there. Our Ebola response is focussed on public health promotion and supporting community lead solutions to break the chain of transmission. We are also providing safe, clean water in affected communities and improving the infrastructures of health centers. Since the outbreak began, we have reached 602,181 people.

From working on previous Ebola outbreaks, we know that talking with communities and finding safe solutions with them is critical to containing the virus– by using local health workers, working with community leaders who speak the local language and treating communities as equal partners, and recognising their capacity and experience to stop Ebola.

Contact information: 

(Kinshasa) Scheherazade Bouabid|+ 243 0815163782| sbouabid1@oxfam.org.uk