The recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was officially declared over by the World Health Organization (WHO) in late November of 2014. This was the 7th outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in Congo in 1976. Although this outbreak is over, Congo is at a high risk for repeated outbreaks in the future.
Week of Compassion's partner, IMA World Health, is taking preemptive measures in two of its high risk health zones, Equateur and Kasai Occidental, to prevent the outbreak from repeating. Health workers, the first responders of an outbreak, are often at a high risk of catching and spreading the disease. Personal Protective Equipment Kits (PPE) are essential for protecting health workers in these high risk areas and for ensuring that the disease is not spread by the people working to contain it.
Through Week of Compassion's support, IMA has significantly contributed to preparedness measures by providing 200 PPEs; 76 of these kits have already been sent to 38 hospitals in the aforementioned zones, which are supported by IMA's Access to Primary Health Care Project (ASSP). Another 40 kits have been prepositioned in IMA's five ASSP provinces, 55 will soon be turned over to the government for storage in the Central Hospital, 8 have been donated to Baptist hospitals, and the remaining 21 kits will be stored in Kinshasa to be dispatched as needed.
IMA is also working with the Ministry of Health Department of Epidemic Surveillance to plan a five-day training for hospital staff in Ebola preparedness and response. Thanks to the support of Week of Compassion, along with a number of other IMA member agencies and partners, these high risk areas in the DRC will be well prepared for the ever present threat of an Ebola outbreak.