Ebola crisis in DRC could last for another six months
Save the Children has warned that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could last for another six months.
Almost one hundred children in the DRC have lost their lives to the virus since the outbreak started in August last year.
In January, the number of Ebola cases spiked and now Save the Children warn that the death toll could rise. Of the 97 children who lost their lives, 65 were younger than five years old.
Heather Kerr, Save the Children’s Country Director in the DRC, said:
“We are at a crossroads. If we don’t take urgent steps to contain this, the outbreak might last another six months, if not the whole year. The DRC is a country suffering from violence and conflict and an extreme hunger crisis—some 4.6 million children are acutely malnourished. The main concerns for many people are safety and making sure they have enough to eat. But Ebola has to be a priority too.”
The DRC experienced their tenth outbreak of Ebola in August 2018, this has resulted in 608 cases and 368 deaths.
To curb the virus, Save the Children deployed its Emergency Health Unit to train local health workers. So far, the organisation has reached over 400,000 people in the DRC with information on how to recognise the symptoms of Ebola and how to prevent it.
Marie-Claire Mbombo, a Child Protection officer for Save the Children, said:
“One young boy told me that his parents never spoke about the virus at home, it was a taboo, and that made him afraid. After a big awareness campaign, they started talking and he’s less afraid now that they know how to avoid it.”
This follows a new drug trial which has brought hope to the DRC. The trial has already improved the health of many people. However, due to ongoing conflict, it is regularly interrupted which is decreasing the success rate.
Join us for the AIDF Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya on 26-27 February 2019.
If you’d like to stay informed on the latest updates in aid and development, please sign up for the AIDF newsletter.
Photograph: United Nations Development Programme