Despite the availability of a life-saving vaccine, efforts to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo has been severely hampered by fighting between armed groups and mistrust of aid workers by some local communities who have blamed the arrival of the disease on outsiders. Aid workers have even been attacked as they attempted to provide medical treatment.
More than 2,000 people have been infected since August 2018, causing 1,365 deaths so far. This is the second largest outbreak in history with around 10 cases still being reported each day.
With the support of Irish Aid and working alongside local partners, Christian Aid Ireland is helping prevent the spread of Ebola in North Kivu province by both building latrines and new water sources as well as rebuilding trust with local communities and raising awareness of the availability of the vaccine. Therapy sessions are also being provided to help people cope with the devastating psychological impact of the disease.
In partnership with the World Food Programme, Christian Aid Ireland has handed out food rations to 40,000 people in North Kivu. During these distributions, people are informed of the importance of handwashing to prevent the spread of Ebola as well as the urgent need to bring anyone with Ebola symptoms immediately to a health clinic to receive treatment.
Throughout North Kivu, Christian Aid Ireland and partners provide aid to nearly 100,000 people including those displaced by conflict, former refugees returning from neighbouring countries and vulnerable locals.