New Ebola case in the DRC devastating for children in a region already faced with complex challenges

One case of the Ebola virus disease has been confirmed after a three-year-old child who was hospitalised in Beni, a conflict prone town of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), tested positive. The young boy died on Wednesday, as confirmed in a statement by the DRC’s Health Minister on Friday. 

Beni is one of the epicentres of the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak, which killed over 2,200 people. This new case marks the second potential outbreak this year alone, and in the same province of North Kivu, where the previous outbreak was declared over in May 2021.

“It is unfortunate that a population that is still dealing with the massive effects of the 10th outbreak, active conflicts, and in a COVID-19 context wakes up to such news. The government and key response stakeholders immediately swung into action and we are all on the alert, and hoping that the situation can be contained”, says David Munkley, World Vision's Director for Programmes in Eastern DRC.

The response teams of the Provincial Division of Health based in Goma are already tracing 100 contacts. 

“In the past two years, children in these areas have told us that they live in fear. Fear of Ebola, fear of COVID-19, and conflict. They live in constant fear that they or their parents could die before their time. The psychological strain associated with these difficulties is tremendous”, Mr. Munkley added. 

“Such a complex context calls for continuous review of our humanitarian, development and peace interventions and primarily: strong partnerships with the Ministry of Health, long-term investment to build resilient health and child protection systems which are able to prevent, respond, and mitigate such outbreaks, and comprehensive support to children, families, and first responders affected by the Ebola virus disease”, Anne-Marie Connor, World Vision's National Director for the DRC, explains. 

World Vision provided water, sanitation, and hygiene, emergency food assistance, health (including mental health and psychosocial support), and protection services, across a foundation of community engagement work during the previous Ebola response in the DRC. World Vision continues to highlight and advocate for strong partnerships with the Ministry of Health, long-term investment to build resilient health and child protection systems which are able to prevent, respond, and mitigate such outbreaks, and comprehensive support to children, families, and first responders affected by the Ebola virus disease.

ENDS.

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Key Contacts:

David Munkley, Director East Zone Programmes: David_Munkley@wvi.org

Geoffrey Kalebbo Denye, Communications Specialist, World Vision DRC: geoffrey_denye@wvi.org

Editor Notes:

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