citation

"DRC Ebola News (7/29/19)." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 29, 2019. Accessed October 11, 2019. https://healthsecurity.csis.org/articles/drc-ebola-news-7-29-19/

Daily update for July 29th, 2019 on the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo Credit: Mike Stone/Getty Images

One year into the outbreak which has killed more than 1,700, a rise in community deaths is fueling a resurgence of Ebola. Many people still don’t believe Ebola is real.

There were 12 new cases as of July 29th.

Saudi Arabia has banned entry to travelers coming from DRC over fears Ebola could spread during next month’s Hajj pilgrimage.

World Food Program (WFP) plans to double food rations to assist 440,000 people in DRC affected by the Ebola virus and their contacts over the next six months.

The political struggle within DRC pitted Oly Ilunga, who had been a minister since 2016, against Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director-general of the country’s National Institute for Biomedical Research. It was also a struggle between President Tshisekedi and his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.

WHO AFRO Dashboard

Total cases in DRC: 2,671

  • Confirmed cases: 2,577
  • Probable cases: 94
  • Suspected cases: 358

Deaths in DRC: 1,782

Too many in Congo’s Ebola outbreak are dying at home

AP

By Krista Larson, 7/26/19

“People are waiting until the last minute to bring their family members and when they do it’s complicated for us,” says Mathieu Kanyama, head of health promotion at the Ebola treatment center in Beni run by the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA). Ebola symptoms are similar to common killers like malaria and typhoid, so those afraid of going to a treatment center often try to self-medicate at home with paracetamol to reduce fever. But Ebola, unlike those other illnesses, requires the patient to be kept in isolation and away from the comfort of family. People’s most common fear is that they will only leave an Ebola treatment center in a body bag, says Dr. Maurice Kakule, who became one of this outbreak’s first Ebola patients after he treated a sick woman at his clinic. To try to humanize the care of patients in isolation, ALIMA’s Ebola treatment center in Beni places some patients in their own transparent room called a “CUBE,” where they can see visitors from their beds. Others share a room with one other patient and a glass window where loved ones can gather.

Saudi Arabia suspends Hajj visas for DR Congo over Ebola

Al Jazeera

7/26/19

The decision, announced in a note issued on Wednesday by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited last week’s move by the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the Ebola outbreak in DRC’s eastern North Kivu and Ituri provinces a public health emergency of international concern. About three percent of DRC’s population is Muslim, according to a poll by the New York-based Congo Research Group. This move came despite the WHO saying that no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel or trade because of Ebola. Saudi Arabia also partially shuttered its borders to travelers amid fears over Ebola during the West African outbreak from 2014-2016.

UN to Double Food Rations for Ebola-Affected People in DR Congo

VOA

By Lisa Schlein, 7/28/19

Recipients will receive food for 28 days. This is one week longer than the 21-day incubation period, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms. WFP says the operation also will allow agencies working to contain the deadly virus to keep tabs on the health situation of contacts of victims and their families, as well as of confirmed and suspected cases. WFP spokesman, Herve Verhoosel, explains beneficiaries of this expanded program will be required to come to specific distribution sites every week to pick up their food rations, and that people who have been infected by the Ebola virus and who have recovered, will receive food rations for one year. However, the operation is running into some problems of acceptance because of community mistrust, as certain beneficiaries have been threatened because they are seen as posing risks to the community.

In Congo, a New Plan to Fight Ebola Follows a Government Power Struggle

NY Times

By Donald G. McNeil Jr., 7/26/19

After 18 contentious years in office, Joseph Kabila stepped down last year and is now a senator for life. Since President Tshisekedi won a disputed election in December, he has only slowly replaced Kabila’s cabinet ministers. Dr. Oly Ilunga was the target of an internal government report produced in April, just as new cases began soaring above 100 per week. The report, written by a commission convened by President Tshisekedi and led by Dr. Muyembe, accused Dr. Ilunga of “weak governance, weak leadership and a hyper-centralized response” that failed to coordinate with other ministries, including the police and army. The new Ebola plan may include a campaign to win the hearts of the traumatized population in the isolated eastern provinces by immunizing them against other diseases, treating children for parasites, handing out food and even creating thousands of jobs. Experts hope efforts will be made to negotiate a truce with local militias. The commission’s report also endorsed the second vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Because its main authors are now leading the response, experts expect those steps will be taken. Even though the WHO and many donors endorsed the J&J vaccine in May, Oly Ilunga vigorously opposed using it. He said it would confuse the populace and be difficult to administer, since it requires two doses given 56 days apart.

Twitter

Tweet by World Health Organization (WHO)– 7/29/19

@WHO

“They are working for themselves, for their own communities, not for us. Later, when this outbreak is over, they will be able to tell their families that they contributed to stopping the outbreak and they should be proud” -Dr Keita, #Ebola Response Field Coordinator in #DRC

Tweet by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus– 7/27/19

@DrTedros

Productive discussion with President Tshisekedi of #DRC about the importance of rebuilding and strengthening the health system in DRC and the #Ebola situation. We both agreed this should be based on a national vision, with a focus on #PrimaryHealthCare.

Tweet by Seth Berkley– 7/27/19

@GaviSeth

Morning visit to Ebola Operations Centre in Goma. Impressive support to the response provided by WHO, UNICEF, MSF & others in a very difficult context. With still 40% of cases not known contacts, increasing surveillance & community engagement is a clear priority to end outbreak.

Tweet by Amy Maxmen– 7/27/19

@amymaxmen

“Ebola is only the symptom, the disease is weak institutions. If we have a flood or a tsunami, it will reveal all the same things.” Copyright @ObSisay (!) as stated in West Africa, as proven to be true. Sadly. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/150127-ebola-virus-outbreak-epidemic-sierra-leone-freetown-photos-pictures/

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