Since August 1, 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is fighting a severe Ebola outbreak �the 10th such outbreak the country is facing since 1976. The World Bank has been a leading supporter of the frontline response efforts of the government and international partners in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in Eastern DRC, which border Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda. The health response is complicated due to the ongoing conflict and insecurity in the area, social tensions, and political uncertainty which are leading to community resistance to efforts to contain the outbreak.
On July 17th, 2019, WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The declaration followed a meeting of the Emergency Committee for Ebola in the DRC. The declaration of the PHEIC is a clarion call for the international community to pull out all the stops to help put an end to this deadly outbreak. The World Bank remains committed to doing everything we can to support the Government and people of DRC in this crisis, and is in the process of identifying additional funding to support the elevated response.
THE WORLD BANK’S ROLE
World Bank support has focused on saving lives, supporting the affected communities and containing the spread of the outbreak.
To date, the World Bank has disbursed US$100 million for the Ebola response since this outbreak was declared last August. The financing comes from the International Development Association (IDA, the World Bank’s fund for low-income countries) as well as the cash window of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), an innovative financing mechanism set up specifically to combat pandemics. Specifically:
o IDA: $80 million has been disbursed from IDA contingency mechanisms.
o PEF: $20 million has been disbursed from the PEF cash window. The PEF insurance window could activate and release up to $90 million in the event the outbreak crosses borders and there is confirmation of at least 20 deaths in a second country.
RESULTS OF WORLD BANK SUPPORT TO DATE
Urgent Outbreak Response
The World Bank supports health clinics in all affected areas with free healthcare and provision of essential medicines. This has removed financial barriers for patients needing to access healthcare and has resulted in a three to five-fold increase in the number of patients seeking care, making detection of Ebola easier.
10 Ebola treatment centers have been established in Beni, Bunia, Butembo, Goma, Katwa, Kayina, Komanda, Mandima, Manginaet and Tchomia
Sixty percent of all frontline healthworkers in Ebola-affected areas � which is 1,800 workers �are supported with hazard pay
5,216 handwashing stations have been set up to ensure hygiene and limit transmission
7 mobile laboratories and 67 case tracking teams carry out contact tracing and disease surveillance
21 decontamination teams ensure cleanliness and safe disposal of infected items
75 pyscho-social support teams have provided 3,000 pyscho-social support kits to families of patients.
Community engagement campaigns have helped increase knowledge on how to limit Ebola transmission, build community support and ensure that new cases are reported immediately and treated.
Over 80,000 people have been vaccinated through an innovative coordinated response supported by many partners, including GAVI
Strengthening the DRC Health System
The current Ebola response builds on several years of World Bank and partner engagement to help build DRC’s health system, enabling the country to take a leadership role in the Ebola response.
World Bank technical experts have helped develop the Ebola Strategic Response Plans put together jointly by the government and international partners to combat the outbreak.
The Center of Excellence for Ebola (CEE) is being established, which would be the foundation of a national public health institution for DRC and could play a regional role in the context of Ebola outbreaks.
Pandemic Preparedness in Neighboring Countries
The World Bank has put into place a Neighborhood Preparedness Plan, that includes contingency financing mechanisms to make resources available rapidly, if the outbreak were to spill over the border into one of the nine neighboring countries.
Source: The World Bank