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ACoDD Deploys disease detectives to support the Ebola response in DRC

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared the 10th outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in North Kivu Province on 1 August 2018 following confirmation of Ebola virus in four out of six blood samples from patients. It’s now 13 months since DRC declared this outbreak and despite the interventions from the DRC government and its partners, this outbreak is still ravaging communities and the end is not yet in sight. As of Sep 11 2019, the cumulative number of EVD cases was 3,091 (2,980 confirmed and 111 probable). A total of 2,074 deaths were recorded (case fatality ratio 67%). The continuing spread of this outbreak to new geographical areas is a worrying trend and poses a great risk of spreading EVD not only within DRC but to other countries in the region.

To strengthen EVD prevention and control efforts, AFENET in collaboration with CDC and the Ministry of Health (MOH), DRC, deployed AFENET Corps of Disease Detectives (ACoDD) in the outbreak hotspots. ACoDD members are all graduates of the advanced and frontline field of training program and work within the DRC health system. The deployment will commence on Sep 17 2019 and end on Nov 17, 2019. The ACoDD members are all working within the DRC health system and are graduates of the advanced and frontline field epidemiology training programs (FETPs). The deployment shall be executed in two rounds each consisting 16 ACoDD members. The first round comprised 11 advanced FETP and 5 frontline FETP graduates.

The ACoDD members have been integrated within the Ebola rapid response team whose activities are under the supervision of the national Ebola coordination committee. The ACoDD teams will support EVD surveillance, contact tracing, data management and analysis, community sensitization, infection prevention and control (IPC), points of entry/ control surveillance and mentoring of Frontline health workers among others.