The worst Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has finally been declared over! This is excellent news for children and their communities in North Kivu, the region worst hit by the outbreak and where we work with vulnerable children and young people.
Since August 2018, 2,280 people have sadly died from Ebola in north east DRC. A third of those were under 18. In an area already affected by armed conflict, violent attacks on health centres and workers made fighting the disease an even greater challenge. Rural districts such as Kibati, lack essential infrastructure such as running water.
Handwashing facilities installed in a school we support in Kibati
In DRC, we work with our partner Children’s Voice to support marginalised children and young people affected by conflict through inclusive education and vocational training. When the crisis hit, we launched an emergency appeal to support these vulnerable children and their communities and keep them safe. Your response was amazing! With your support we were able to:
- Install water and antibacterial handwash in schools.
- Run education programmes in the schools we support to teach children and their families about the symptoms of Ebola and how to keep safe.
- Provide handwash kits to communities, to install them in homes and workplaces.
- Broadcast to hundreds of thousands in rural areas over the radio, with life-saving information on keeping safe.
By taking these measures, your support played a part in a huge collective effort to contain Ebola and stop its spread. With information campaigns and hygiene facilities, the disease was kept out of the major city of Goma – a key concern just months ago – keeping many children and their families safe.
While it is excellent news that the outbreak is over, those we support in the region still face daily challenges – now made more complex by coronavirus and lockdowns. We must also remain vigilant to flare-ups and remember that the disease isn’t fully eradicated in DRC, with cases recorded recently in the west. However, this shows what can be achieved when we work together – even in the most difficult of circumstances.