Team Members at the Ebola Treatment Center
As of September 24, the Ministry of Health had reported over 150 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola —and 100 deaths — across North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The areas of Beni, Butembo, Mabalako in North Kivu, and of Mandima in Ituri, are among those most affected.
A new case in Ituri Province is a cause for particular concern, as the patient was a contact of a confirmed Ebola case but declined medical follow-up and vaccination, and fled, ultimately passing. The high movement raises fear for continuous spread of Ebola.
Exacerbating efforts, the ongoing conflict and increasingly dangerous security incidents within the Ebola-affected area are severely limiting the movement of aid organizations and health officials working to contain the outbreak. On Saturday, September 22, at least 21 people were killed in an attack in the town of Beni, where most of the humanitarian agencies are based.
Dr. Peter Salama, the World Health Organization emergency response chief, recently stated that, “We are now extremely concerned that several factors may be coming together over the next weeks to months to create a potential perfect storm. A perfect storm of active conflict, limiting our ability to access civilians, distress by segments of the community, already traumatized by decades of conflict and of murder.”
Despite these challenges, our teams are working to help contain the virus as quickly as possible. Co-managed by the Ministry of Health, we have opened a 20-bed Ebola Treatment Center in Makeke, in Ituri province – about a one-hour drive from Beni.
To strengthen infection prevention and control measures, we have trained 215 doctors, nurses, and hygienists at health centers, hospitals, and health posts in Ebola-affected areas. In North Kivu, teams have now screened more than 29,000 individuals across four screening-and-referral units (SRUs) located at health facilities. These SRUs provide the infrastructure needed to safely screen every patient, visitor, and staff member with no-touch temperature checks and rapid assessments for Ebola-like symptoms each time they enter the health facility.
Moving forward, we will continue to expand prevention activities to help stop the transmission of this terrible disease, including constructing up to nine additional SRUs at health centers in Beni, Buhumbani, and Mabalako.
We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your continued support across the response.
Screening and Referral Unit in North Kivu