‘‘The WHO Country Office in the DRC is working closely with the national and provincial authorities and with the WHO Regional Office for Africa, WHO headquarters in Geneva and all other partners to facilitate deployment of health workers and protective kits in the field to strengthen epidemiological surveillance and rapidly control the outbreak’’, says Dr Yokouidé Allarangar, WHO representative in the DRC. Dr Allarangar also announced that Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, would arrive in Kinshasa this weekend to attend a coordination meeting of the national committee at the Ministry of Health to deal with this emergency and ensure that WHO provides all necessary assistance to the DRC.
WHO has also drawn up a comprehensive logistics plan to meet urgent requirements. ‘‘The first teams of epidemiologists, biologists, and experts in the areas of social mobilization, risk communication and community engagement, and also personnel specializing in water, hygiene and sanitation, are scheduled to reach the affected area today or tomorrow via Kisangani’’, the administrative centre of Tshopo (350 kilometres from Buta), Dr Allarangar added. ‘‘The Likati health district is in a remote area, but contact tracing is essential to contain the outbreak in its focus; the DRC can rely on very experienced health workers for this purpose.’’ Dr Allarangar also appealed to other partners to work with the country to put in place an appropriately coordinated multisectoral approach. Médecins Sans Frontières, the NGO ALIMA, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Gavi Alliance, the World Food Programme/United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (WFP-UNHAS), and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) are now standing ready to lend their support to the authorities in the DRC.
This confirmed outbreak is centred on the Nambwa health area approximately 130 kilometres from Buta, the administrative centre of Bas-Uélé province, which shares a border with the Central African Republic; it is the eighth EVD outbreak in the DRC since 1976. The most recent recorded outbreak was in August 2014 in Boende region, where the disease was brought under control where it started in Lokolia, now in Tshuapa province.