News Alert: New Ebola Outbreak in Butembo, DRC
Following a resurgence of Ebola in Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo, which comes less than a year after the government declared the end of the tenth, and worst, Ebola outbreak in June 2020, Whitney Elmer, Mercy Corps Country Director for DRC says:
"This resurgence of Ebola is worrying as it comes amidst rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in DR Congo and could fuel existing challenges. This includes communities' mistrust and lack of acceptance and ownership of the health responses.
"We know that Ebola is endemic in this region, but we cannot take anything for granted and we must take swift action to stop the spread of this new outbreak. We urge health authorities to consider what we learned from the previous Ebola epidemic in Eastern Congo by ensuring that local communities are at the forefront of the response, particularly on prevention and information to get people to health centres when sick. This makes a huge difference and complements other public health actions to curtail the further spread of the virus."
We must ensure community engagement is at the heart of the response to prevent and control the spread of infection. Community structures must continue to be supported and strengthened, so they gain ownership of the health responses, and become the main actors protecting their communities."
Mercy Corps responded to the Ebola outbreak in Beni, Butembo and Goma by increasing communities' capacity to prevent the spread of the virus and is continuing our Ebola activities and integrating prevention information about COVID-19 into all programmes. Last year, Mercy Corps reached 3.7 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.