Unicef Working With Partners To Contain The Spread Of Ebola In DRC
Unicef is working with partners and the government in order to scale up its response to Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hundreds of community workers have been mobilised in order to increase awareness amongst families and their children, teaching them how to protect themselves from the virus. Community workers also play a critical role in delivering information to various communities about how they can obtain an Ebola vaccination.
Getting the message out
Community workers have been sent to health zones such as Mbandaka and Bikoro with the goal of helping to contain the outbreak through spreading of information and mobilising people within those communities. This means disseminating information via radio or using religious organisations, schools, markets and youth groups to get the message out.
Prevention is key
Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano Unicef’s DRC representative says it is extremely important that communities understand how to ensure they stay protected both at home and in public, particularly in health facilities and schools. He adds that experience from previous outbreaks has shown that when communities have been engaged in prevention efforts, the chances of containing the disease rise dramatically.
Trying to keep schools open
Aside from educating the public, the aid agency is also delivering supplies of water and hygiene including water purification tablets to all the Ebola Treatment Centres and communities in both Mbandaka and Bikoro. Disinfection points have also been installed in a number of other health facilities. Hand-washing points have also been installed in 50 schools believed to be vulnerable in affected areas in Mbanadaka and a further 72 schools in Bikoro will also receive hand washing equipment. The schools are also being given thermometers so they can check up on the health status of their students. Dr Rotigliano says everything is being done to ensure that the schools remain safe and that education is not disrupted.
The DRC’s Minister of Health declared the outbreak of Ebola at the beginning of last month and since then Unicef has delivered about 4,585 kilograms of supplies. This includes soap, tarpaulins, buckets and chlorine to support water, sanitation and hygiene activities.
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