The world’s second deadliest Ebola outbreak declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization for Africa, said the announcement was made after no new cases were reported 42 days after the last survivor tested negative for the virus.

“It was not easy and sometimes it seemed like an impossible mission,” said Moeti.

Some 16,000 front-line workers fought for nearly two years against the country’s tenth outbreak, Moeti said.
Despite successfully deploying two separate vaccines, the outbreak claimed more than 2,200 lives, with the response continually hampered by mistrust and community violence in the country’s volatile northeast provinces.
The country is now turning its attention to the fight against Covid-19, as well as its eleventh Ebola outbreak, which is already underway in Mbandaka, in the western province of Equateur.

Moeti said many lessons have been learned from overcoming Ebola that can be used in the fight against Covid-19.

“One of the most important lessons … is the need to engage with, work with them, allow communities to be informed, empowered to play their role in different ways,” said Moeti.

Call for caution

UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Agency, said it “welcomes” the announcement, but warned that the fight is not yet over in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that a large number of human resources and finances were deployed in the eastern region of the country to reach the end of the current outbreak.

Beigbeder said that UNICEF provided water, hygiene services and psychosocial support to children and informed millions of people about how to protect themselves from Ebola.

“These valuable lessons are helping us in our current effort to address the new Ebola outbreak in Equateur province, while responding to the current Covid-19 pandemic,” said Beigbeder.

The new outbreak and Covid-19 are showing the world that it is important for international donors to support the country’s already overburdened health systems to fight “the disease and address the impacts on children and their families,” said UNICEF.