The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is dealing with the world’s second largest outbreak of Ebola. As of 27 October 2019, 3,264 cases of Ebola had been recorded, including 2,181 deaths. The DRC shares its borders with nine countries, with regular cross-border movement of people, goods and services. Combined with weaknesses in national health systems, these neighbouring countries are assessed to be at very high risk of an Ebola outbreak.
This risk of Ebola importation has become increasingly evident in recent months. In June 2019 three family members from the DRC crossed into Uganda, all subsequently dying from Ebola. In July 2019, an Ebola case was reported in Ariwara, close to the border with South Sudan. Also in July 2019 cases were confirmed for the first time in the city of Goma on the border with Rwanda. In August 2019 cases were confirmed in South Kivu in the vicinity of the border with Burundi. In view of escalating risks and on the advice of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak in the DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 17 July 2019.
1.2 Context for the development of this 72-hour response plan
EVD preparedness and response is led by the Ministry of Health (MoH), including through its Incident Manager and the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC). WHO and the EVD Secretariat provide overarching technical leadership and coordination support, to enhance the efficacy of collective efforts which are contributed to by numerous non-government partners including UN agencies, national and international NGOs, and technical agencies. Task forces at national and state levels are convened by the MoH as the main platforms for coordination, information sharing and decision-making. Technical pillars and corresponding Technical Working Groups are jointly led by the MoH and non-government partners with comparative advantage in the respective technical areas.
Ebola prevention and preparedness work in South Sudan since the onset of the outbreak in the DRC in August 2018 has been organised under two successive National Ebola Preparedness Plans. Activities are largely focused in seven states considered to be at highest risk due to the volume of cross-border movement and proximity to the DRC and Uganda. These include five states bordering the DRC and Uganda, namely Gbudwe, Imatong, Maridi, Tambura, and Yei River, as well as Jubek and Wau which have airports with international travel. Together, these highest-risk states are home to around 3 million inhabitants.
Source: World Health Organization