ACoDD support to the response of COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), like the rest of the world, is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The country confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on 10 March 2020, and by 18 July 2022, had reported a total of 92,200 cases (92,198 confirmed and 2 probable cases). Of these, 83,061 (90.1%) persons have recovered, while 1,355 (1.4%) have succumbed to the disease.
To counter the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Health commissioned a decentralized “zonal approach” characterized by the deployment of international, national, and provincial experts in health zones of affected provinces.
With funding from the US CDC, AFENET deployed ACoDD teams to support the surveillance arm of the response in various hotspots across the country, particularly the provinces of Kinshasa, Haut Katanga and North Kivu. A total of 56 ACoDD members were deployed in 2 waves as highlighted below:
|Dates||Province||No. of ACoDD members deployed|
|13 March – 12 August 2021||North Kivu and Haut Katanga||33|
|5 – 23 February 2023||Kinshasa||23|
Deployed ACoDD teams focused on active case search and investigation of alerts, follow-up of contacts, strengthening of data management, sensitization of care providers on surveillance, and risk communication and community engagement with a focus on preventive/protective public health actions, such as vaccination.
During the deployment period, 45,884 alerts were reported, of which 29,759 (65%) were investigated, 11,199 were validated and 1,507 were confirmed.
ACoDD teams were able to reach 28,707 people (community members and healthcare personnel) through awareness-raising activities. Out of these, 1,582 accepted to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In addition to supporting the COVID-19 response, the team also supported surveillance and data management for other vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). As the pandemic evolves and the long-term control strategy shifts from mass vaccination campaigns to integration of COVID-19 vaccines into routine immunization programs, the experiences of these teams will provide insights into the roll out of the strategy in DRC and other similar contexts.