Health

I thought that we were finally done with Ebola – Democratic Republic of the Congo

I thought that we were finally done with Ebola – Democratic Republic of the Congo

posted on 9 AUGUST 2018 by DOCTEUR IBRAHIM CISSE

On Tuesday 24 July, I thought that we were finally done with Ebola. After more than 80 days of struggle against the epidemic affecting the Equateur Province in the north-west of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Government announced the end of the epidemic. Thanks to the mobilisation of all parties, we were able to bring together the communities and lead them to adopt preventive behaviours that allowed us to stop the propagation of the epidemic.

On this day, we were all relieved to be able to say that the children were safe and sheltered from the epidemic. We had started to implement a post-Ebola transition plan that was going to last for 3 months, after which we would finally be able to resume our daily work. However, Ebola decided otherwise: exactly one week after the announcement of the end of the epidemic in the Equateur Province, the Government announced that the country was facing a new epidemic, the tenth since 1796.

With other experts who were still present in Mbandaka to continue efforts in communication and community engagement in order to avoid new epidemics in the zone, I was rapidly deployed to Beni to coordinate the UNICEF response to this new epidemic. Less than 48 hours after the announcement of the new epidemic by the Minister of Public Health, I found myself in the affected zone.