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Public Health Partners Respond To Ebola In Beni, DRC

The response of public health partners to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Beni, DRC is commendable. Following the outbreak of Ebola in Beni on 1 August 2018, The Minister of Health Dr Olly Illunga and public health partners including WHO, UNICEF, MSF, ALIMA, among others) immediately made an initial visit to the outbreak on 2 August 2018 for a rapid assessment of this outbreak.

Several organizations set out teams to the Mangina Referral Health Center where several cases including health workers have been isolated. DRC’s Ministry of Public Health and World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors Without Borders and the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), have opened Ebola treatment centers to isolate and treat patients.

The Ministry of Health (MOH), WHO, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Africa CDC and the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) have deployed residents and graduates of the DRC and Central Africa Field Epidemiology Training Programs to support surveillance and contact tracing in the Mangina area which is the epicenter of the outbreak.

The World Health Organization is spearheading vaccination at the Mangina referral center on health care workers and others who may have come in contact with confirmed cases. More than 500 people have received the vaccine so far.

In addition to response teams from the public health organizations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta Director Robert Redfield, together with the Minister of Public Health Oly Ilunga Kalenga and a U.S. delegation visited North Kivu, Beni and met the coordination teams on 15 August 2018. They teams toured the Ebola treatment center in the city of Beni.

The entire response mechanism has been put in place as a matter of urgency in order to upgrade and contain the disease. WHO has deployed its epidemiologists, logisticians, data managers, and specialists in risk communication, social mobilization and community engagement, experts in infection prevention and control, among others as well as a team of experts in the field of health care. Other partners have also provided experts in various fields to effectively support local teams in the Mabalako health zone, which includes the affected Mangina health area.