Responding to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo
This edition of Humanitarian Exchange, co-edited with Anne Harmer
Anne is Manager of Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) Programme, funded by
DFID, Wellcome and the UK National Institute for Health Research. Find out more at www.elrha.org/r2hc. , focuses on the response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although at the time of publication the outbreak appeared to have ended, over its course it claimed 2,200 lives, with more than 3,300 infected, making this the world’s second largest outbreak ever.
In the lead article, Natalie Roberts reflects on the extent to which humanitarian actors have applied learning from the outbreak in West Africa in 2014–2016. Richard Kojan and colleagues report on the NGO ALIMA’s flexible, patient-centred approach to reducing mortality, Marcela Ascuntar reflects on lessons learned from community feedback and Bernard Balibuno, Emanuel Mbuna Badjonga and Howard Mollett highlight the crucial role faith-based organisations have played in the response. In their article, Theresa Jones, Noé Kasali and Olivia Tulloch outline the work of the Bethesda counselling centre in Beni, which provides support to grieving families. Reflecting on findings from a recent assessment by Translators without Borders, Ellie Kemp describes the challenges involved in providing clear and accessible information on Ebola and the response, and Sung Joon Park and colleagues explain how humane care and treatment can help increase trust and confidence in the response. Stephen Mugamba and his co-authors highlight the importance of community involvement in Ebola research, and Gillian McKay and her co-authors examine the impact of the Ebola outbreak and response on sexual and reproductive health services.
Stacey Mearns, Kiryn Lanning and Michelle Gayer present an Ebola Readiness Roadmap to support NGOs in preparing for an outbreak, while Edward Kumakech, Maurice Sadlier, Aidan Sinnott and Dan Irvine report on a Gap Analysis tool looking at the communication, community engagement and compliance tracking activities that need to be in place before an Ebola vaccine is deployed. Emanuele Bruni and colleagues describe the development of a new monitoring and evaluation framework for strategic response planning. The edition ends with an article by Adelicia Fairbanks, who argues for an acceptance strategy in the DRC to improve security and access for responding agencies.