The Ebola outbreak in the DRC reached another grim milestone, as some 3,000 people have fallen ill with the virus and 2,000 people have died, since August 2018. Save the Children warns that the outbreak is far from under control: on August 29, 2019, a new case surfaced in neighboring Uganda, where a 9-year old girl from the DRC was diagnosed with the virus. There is a very real risk the epidemic will continue for at least another year with the possibility of a regional impact.
Heather Kerr, Save the Children’s Country Director in DRC, said:
“In an outbreak that continues to take children’s lives and tear apart families and communities, we were extremely saddened to learn that the Ebola outbreak in the DRC has claimed 2000 lives.
“This has been a particularly deadly outbreak, with a mortality rate of 67%, far higher than the 55% average case fatality rate for Ebola[i]. The youngest are the hardest hit – well over 500 children have died, many more have lost at least one of their parents or can no longer go to school because schools are closed or they have to work to make ends meet.
“This outbreak is not under control – only yesterday, a new case surfaced in neighboring Uganda, where a 9-year old girl from the DRC was diagnosed with the virus. There is a real risk the epidemic will continue for at least another year with the real possibility of a regional impact.
“As the death toll mounts, Save the Children is working tirelessly with partners and the government to prepare communities to avoid new cases and respond quickly when a suspected case is found. We’re training health workers and supporting existing health facilities to identify and isolate Ebola cases. We’re also making sure children and their families have the right information about Ebola, as we know that misinformation is one of the main barriers to effectively treating this illness. Our teams are working within communities, to help people understand how to protect themselves and ensure people who feel unwell seek medical treatment immediately.
“We don’t want to keep counting deaths. The international community must release new funds to help prevent the virus from spreading further in the region and causing more casualties. We must continue to work with communities to unlock the key to ending this epidemic. The Government of DRC must also ensure there are sufficient doses of the Merck vaccine to last for at least one more year and increase the number of vaccines authorized to counter the Ebola outbreak.
“We also call on the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure that throughout this crisis children’s education is not disrupted, making sure that schools are not closed due to the Ebola outbreak, and that quality emergency education is accessible to children.”