fbpx

DR Congo: With Ebola on the wane, UN agencies prepare to combat coronavirus

DR Congo: With Ebola on the wane, UN agencies prepare to combat coronavirus

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
Print

After more than a year of battling an Ebola virus outbreak that killed more than 2,200 people, UN officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the epidemic in the northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will soon be history as the country gears up to face the emerging threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

NEW YORK, USA, March 5, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- In an emotional ceremony on Tuesday, the last Ebola patient in the DRC – a woman called Masiko – was discharged from the treatment centre in Beni, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. 

“There are currently zero cases of #Ebola in #DRC after over a year of fighting this outbreak”, WHO Regional Director Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said in Tweet sharing a video of Masiko leaving the facility to the cheers of a waiting crowd. 

“So proud of all involved in the response. We are hopeful, yet cautiously optimistic that we will soon bring this outbreak to an end”. 

The milestone comes as countries increasingly report cases of respiratory disease caused by a new strain of the coronavirus, which first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.  To date, more than 60 additional countries have been affected. 

Africa prepares for COVID-19

Following the virus’s spread to the continent, the African Union and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention organized an emergency ministerial meeting last month where the DRC was identified among 13 countries most at risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to their direct travel links with China. 

“Some countries in Africa, including DRC, are leveraging the capacity they have built up to test for Ebola, to test for COVID-19”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the meeting. “This is a great example of how investing in health systems can pay dividends for health security.” 

WHO’s Africa office this week held an emergency partnership meeting on coronavirus , aimed at boosting engagement and developing an effective preparedness and response plan for countries in the region. 

Organizations in attendance included fellow UN agency the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which believes that compared to countries with little experience in large-scale infection prevention and control, the DRC may be better positioned to prevent the spread of the coronavirus because of the Ebola measures already implemented.

Lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak

UNFPA health workers have been supporting Ebola response in the DRC: the tenth such outbreak in the country’s history. It has occurred against the backdrop of one of the world’s most protracted crises and in a region of the country that has been scarred by deadly armed group attacks. Overall, nearly 16 million Congolese citizens require support, including 3.5 million women and girls of reproductive age: that is between 15-49 years old. 

While all people living in affected areas are at risk of contracting Ebola, UNFPA explained that  health workers face increased risk due to frequent contact with infected persons, their biological fluids and contaminated objects. They also risk spreading the disease to other patients and practitioners during care. More than five per cent of Ebola victims in DRC were health workers who contracted the disease through contact with an infected patient’s bodily fluids, according to the agency. 

Midwife Rachelle Mbavindi was infected with Ebola while working in the Mangina Referral Health Centre, which was renovated by UNFPA.  Located in North Kivu province, it is at the epicentre of the humanitarian crisis and Ebola outbreak.  

Rachelle and nine colleagues spent 90 days in quarantine and treatment after contracting the disease. Despite the difficulty of her experience, Rachelle returned to work following her release.  

“After my experience with Ebola, I felt born again,” she said, “and I carry out my work with great caution and attention.” 

UNFPA expanding interventions

As a midwifery supervisor, Rachelle trains her colleagues in the proper implementation of practices that can make the difference between life and death in the prevention of fatal diseases. These steps include proper hand hygiene, face protection and clothing, prevention of injuries causing open wounds, respiratory hygiene: that is, preventing viral spread through coughing, systematic cleaning of rooms and linens, and appropriate management of biological wastes.  

Rachelle is applying her personal and professional experience with Ebola to prepare for the potential spread of coronavirus.  

“Thanks to the Ebola training provided by UNFPA, I feel reassured that my maternity ward can prevent and control a new epidemic, including the coronavirus”, she said. 

“In addition to the training and related supervision, UNFPA provides maternity wards with essential equipment to ensure full implementation of the infection prevention and control measures”, said Dr. Polycarpe Takou, UNFPA humanitarian coordinator for Ebola response.  

UNFPA regional and country offices are now working to expand such interventions in preparation for the potential spread of COVID-19.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the United Nations.

You might also enjoy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Conférence de Presse en Ligne


Les frontières terrestres ne doivent pas constituer des obstacles à la dissémination de votre message. Grâce à notre service de conférence de presse en ligne, nous vous offrons l’opportunité de vous rapprocher des médias africains, chaque fois que vous en aurez besoin.

Nos services comprennent:

Digital Communications


Today, social networks constitute an organization’s first point of contact with a user and a potential customer. At first glance, you need to convince of the relevance and quality of your content to stimulate and motivate the user to go further. We create consistently inspiring online strategy to meet business objectives, engage stakeholders and enhance our client brand’s reputation internally and externally.

 

Communication​ digitale


Les réseaux sociaux représentent aujourd’hui le premier point de contact d’une organisation avec un utilisateur et un client potentiel. Au premier coup d’œil, vous devez le convaincre de la pertinence et de la qualité de votre contenu pour l’inciter à aller plus loin. Nous créons pour vous une stratégie de communication précise et adaptée sur les réseaux sociaux pour atteindre les objectifs commerciaux, impliquer les parties prenantes et améliorer la réputation de votre marque en interne et en externe.

Promotion​ d’événements


Le succès d’un événement réside en moitié dans sa promotion. Peu importe la beauté de l’événement, la qualité des orateurs et de l’ordre du jour, si personne ne rapporte ou ne parle de votre événement, vos efforts seront vains. Nous vous aidons à façonner votre récit et à créer un engouement autour de votre événement. De l’annonce de l’événement à la tenue de celui-ci, nous accompagnons votre effort de planification et le reflétons sur toutes les plateformes médiatiques.​

Formation​ Médiatique


Nous fournissons à vos porte-paroles les outils nécessaires pour présenter vos principaux messages et répondre avec confiance et cohérence aux questions. Notre formation est organisée soit à distance ou en présentiel, avec des études de cas réels et des répétitions. Nos clients repartent avec le sentiment d’être à l’aise devant les journalistes et d’agir en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque.

Veille​ Médiatique


Nous mesurons votre portée en relations publiques et rendons compte des informations de votre industrie et des activités de vos  concurrents en surveillant la majorité des canaux de diffusion dans toute l’Afrique. Une veille médiatique complète et opportune est essentielle pour s’assurer que vous ne manquez aucune référence à votre marque, que vous êtes constamment informé de ce qui se passe dans votre industrie et que vous êtes prêt à saisir les opportunités et à réduire les risques en temps opportun.

Relations​ Média


Peu importe le lieu où ils se trouvent, nous sommes une source d‘informations fiables pour les journalistes qui écrivent sur l’Afrique. Nous nous connaissons mutuellement et ils nous font confiance, car nous leur fournissons un contenu crédible qui les aide dans leurs tâches. Nous nous entretenons quotidiennement avec des journalistes aux quatre coins du continent, ce qui fait de nous l’un des organismes les plus efficaces pour mener des campagnes de relations avec les médias.

Stratégie et développement de contenu


Nous créons des stratégies de communication intelligentes, bien documentées et spécialisées destinées à vous aider à construire un récit fort qui engagera votre audience. Nous travaillons en synergie avec vous afin de rédiger des communiqués de presse et des articles d’opinions qui alimentent le récit de votre entreprise. Notre équipe a une expérience approfondie dans la création de récits et le développement de contenu multimédia.

DIFFUSION DE COMMUNIQUES​ DE PRESSE​


C’est le service phare d’AMA. Nous avons mis en place des canaux de diffusion des communiqués de presse auprès des journalistes des 54 États africains ainsi qu’auprès des journalistes américains et européens couvrant les sujets relatifs aux marchés émergents.​

​Nos services comprennent:​

Event Promotion


Half of the success of an event lays in its promotion. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the event is, how wonderful the speakers and the agenda are, if no one reports or talks about your event, your efforts are gone. We help you shape the narrative and create a drumbeat around your event. From the announce all the way to the outcome of the event, we accompany your planning effort and echo it through all media platforms

Media Training


We provide your spokespeople with the tools to present your key messages and answer questions with confidence and coherence. Our training is organised either remotely or face-to- face, with real case studies and rehearsals. Our clients leave feeling comfortable being in front of reporters and acting as brand ambassadors.

Media Monitoring


We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Media Relations


We have become an authoritative source of news for reporters writing about Africa, wherever they are. We know them, they know us, and they trust us for providing them with timely and accurate content that helps them do their job. We speak to reporters on a daily basis in all corners of the continent and this makes us one of the most effective agencies in running media relations campaigns.

Strategy & Content Development


We create smart and localised communications strategies to help build a strong narrative that will engage your audiences. We partner with you to create press releases and thought leadership pieces that sustain a drumbeat for your company’s narrative. Our team have deep experience in shaping narratives and developing media content.

PRESS RELEASE WIRE DISTRIBUTION

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available