Leonida Nzigire Amani welcomes community health workers to her home in Beni, a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo that was the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak that began in 2018. (Photo by Paul Jeffrey)

With your help, Ebola is nearing its end in DRC

Good news: After Ebola infected more than 3,400 people and claimed more than 2,000 lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo, health workers are hopeful, even as they remain vigilant, that this latest outbreak is finally nearing its end. 

“The [over] 20-month duration of this outbreak and its challenges made this a particularly arduous task for relief workers, some of whom lost their lives," says Dr. William Clemmer of Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health, who led our response on the ground.  Through your support of our World of Good fund, your love has reached our neighbors in the Congo with the help they need to overcome the Ebola crisis.

Ebola in DRC

The outbreak, which started in August 2018, was the largest in the country’s history — and it was made worse by the many challenges inherent to working in eastern Congo. More than 100 militia groups fight for resources and territory in the region, with significant risks to health care workers and organizations involved in the response. Misinformation, myths about the disease and stigma against families who suffered a loss because of Ebola were significant challenges.

Thankfully, this was also the first outbreak for which Ebola vaccines were available and where treatment protocols made survival possible for more people — thanks to the many local and international organizations who banded together to create a strong, coordinated response.

Looking to the future of health in eastern Congo

With your generous support, our team coordinates with local communities and organizations in the outbreak’s epicenter to stop the spread of Ebola in the North Kivu province, where nearly 1.3 million people live.

Unfortunately, the fight against Ebola took resources away from other, critical heath needs such as vaccination, malaria control, reproductive health care and more, and some of these may take significant time to rebuild. However, Clemmer says the investments made to fight Ebola have improved eastern Congo’s health systems and their ability to respond to future Ebola outbreaks.

“Those left behind will have the resources, the training and the material to respond quickly and effectively with their own means,” Clemmer said. In the end, perseverance, sincere collaboration and sheer commitment resulted in a coordinated response to bring this outbreak of Ebola to a close.”

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