EBOLA RETURNS TO DRC: ALIMA LAUNCHES EMERGENCY RESPONSE
“Just a week after the most recent outbreak was declared over, we received confirmation of a second outbreak, in an entirely different part of the country,” said Anthony Bonhommeau, ALIMA’s Head of Operational Development. “This is the first time Ebola has been confirmed in North Kivu and local health staff generally are not familiar with managing hemorrhagic fever cases. This is why we immediately mobilized to work in collaboration with partners respond to community health needs in the most affected health zones in North Kivu.”
According to WHO, 43 suspected cases have been reported in 6 health zones throughout North Kivu and Ituri provinces, as of August 5. 16 of these cases have been confirmed by laboratory testing and 34 people, including one health worker, have died.
As part of the response, ALIMA will open a 16-bed Ebola treatment center (ETC) near the outbreak epicenter in Beni city, a remote area, located some 350km north of North Kivu’s capital, Goma. The ETC will be equipped with 6 beds for suspected patients and 10 Biosecure Emergency Care Units (CUBE), which are designed to improve the quality of treatment for patients suffering from highly-infectious diseases, while reducing the risk of transmission.
“Thanks to our experience responding to outbreaks of Ebola in both DRC and Guinea, ALIMA is well-placed to provide quality care for all patients suspected of having Ebola, while increasing the capacity of local health staff to respond to this and future outbreaks,” Anthony Bonhommeau said.
Medical supplies, including personal protective equipment and medications, have already arrived in Beni, and more is on the way. In the coming days, additional doctors, nurses, logisticians, hygiene specialists and other experts will reinforce ALIMA’s current team.
The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) is a humanitarian medical organization that works in close partnership with a network of national medical organizations to provide quality medical assistance for the most vulnerable, in emergency situations or recurring crises. Based in Dakar, Senegal, ALIMA has treated nearly 3 million patients in 12 countries since it was founded in 2009, and has launched more than a dozen research projects on malnutrition, malaria and the Ebola virus.
ALIMA has been active in DRC since 2011, where ALIMA teams continue to support the Ministry of Health to provide quality medical and nutritional care to local populations, in particular in the Kasai Region, where conflict and insecurity have led to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
ALIMA teams most recently responded to an outbreak of Ebola in Itipo, in the Equateur province, where we set up a 9-bed treatment center, equipped with 5 CUBEs. More than 20 patients suspected of having Ebola received care.
*This project is made possible thanks to generous funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO).