28th August 2018
Samaritan’s Purse has deployed staff to North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, where 83 confirmed cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever have been identified and 47 confirmed deaths from the disease have been reported, as of 26th August. This response supports our country office staff there and others already at work in the region.
Our current focus is on preparedness, and we have provided training and equipment to CME Nyankunde Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a longtime Samaritan’s Purse partner through World Medical Mission. In addition, our country office team is also being trained on infection protection and control practices, as well as the proper use of personal protective equipment.
Working with the country’s Ministry of Health, Samaritan’s Purse field staff will begin community awareness campaigns throughout villages in the region, where fear and superstition related to Ebola can pose additional threats to residents’ safety.
Basic training on effective handwashing, establishment of screening facilities at entrances to buildings and health facilities and education on Ebola’s signs and symptoms can help limit exposure and eliminate the spread of infection, according to Samaritan’s Purse Medical Technical Advisor Megan Vitek.
Samaritan’s Purse is prepared to set up an Ebola treatment center and to deploy additional staff and supplies to support the Democratic Republic of Congo, if needed.
This most recent Ebola crisis (declared 1st August) follows an outbreak in the northwestern part of the nation, which only resolved in late July after claiming 33 lives in Equateur Province—more than 2,000 miles west of the current outbreak epicenter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the 10th Ebola outbreak in the country since 1976.
Samaritan’s Purse brings critical experience with Ebola crisis management and treatment to the Democratic Republic of Congo, based on our work in Liberia during the 2014 West Africa outbreak. A number of our international staff received Ebola preparedness training at our facilities in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, from 15th-17th Aug. Several representatives from the 2014 response were present at this event.
Please pray for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo, for our partners at Nyankunde Hospital and for Samaritan’s Purse teams as we work during this latest outbreak.