Ebola Outbreak in the Congo Tops 1,000 Cases

Treatment Centers Attacked, Closed, Burned

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW; EDITED BY BERNICE BORN

The Ebola crisis continues to worsen in the Democratic Republic of Congo amidst attacks on health treatment centers from armed insurgents and from frightened citizens who distrust outside aid.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies Ebola as one of the ten threats to global health in 2019. To assess the current outbreak in Congo, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus visited the country in early March. He said, “To conquer Ebola, we must strike a delicate balance between providing accessible care, maintaining the neutrality of the response and protecting patients and staff from attacks by armed groups.”

 

After the Ebola outbreak in West Africa five years ago, WiRED International produced the first computer-based, expertly written, peer-reviewed Ebola health learning series, which developed into a prevention education program throughout Africa. In addition, WiRED offers four Ebola modules which have been translated into French.

 

WiRED believes that preparing people — helping them understand prevention — should come before an epidemic strikes. Often people don’t pay attention to an illness until it has arrived in their community, and they confront it face to face. WiRED’s training modules focus on prevention, but they also provide information about the recognition of signs and symptoms and treatment. Too many populations in conflict regions of the world remain isolated from basic health care and suffer most during health crises.

 

WHO and other global health agencies state that involving community health workers (CHWs) to supplement basic healthcare services can improve the health of people in underserved regions. In response to this need, WiRED is developing a CHW training program, which will be tested this year in four low-resource areas in Armenia, India, Kenya and Nicaragua.

 

WiRED will continue to monitor and report on the ongoing situation in Congo.

 

 

 

 


What is Ebola?

 

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
  • The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.
  • Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, infection prevention and control practices, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe and dignified burials and social mobilization.
  • Early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus, but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.

Source: WHO

 

 


You can download the modules mentioned in this story, and all 400+ of WiRED’s health modules, through WiRED’s Health Module Access Program (HealthMAP) by clicking here. This easy-to-use free program will enable you to create your own customized collection of health learning modules. You can learn more about HealthMAP through WiRED's animation.

 

 

 

 

 

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