28 May 2018

Africa: Oxfam Launches Public Awareness Drive to Keep Ebola Under Control in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Photo: Daily Monitor
A medical officer attends to a suspected ebola patient. Dr Mathew Lukwiya (inset) died of ebola when the disease first broke out in 2000.
press release

A 26-strong Oxfam team in Mbandaka, Équateur Province, has launched a public information drive to help people understand how best to protect themselves from coming into contact with the deadly Ebola virus.

Jose Barahona, Oxfam DRC Country Director, said: "Most people understand the situation and follow the advice provided; however, we hear people having doubts and worries about the epidemic. Some people don't believe in the Ebola virus or in the medication provided, others are afraid of it. Cases of people leaving hospitals and refusing care have been reported, which could have dramatic consequences. There are also some traditional practices concerning the handling and burial of dead bodies that can increase the risk of transmission after death."

To increase awareness about the virus, Oxfam is providing door-to-door information to the most vulnerable people, working with communities and carrying out mass awareness activities including film screenings and working with local community radio stations. It also plans to work with religious and traditional leaders.

Oxfam is installing chlorinated water points in hospitals, health centres, schools and ports, and helping to disinfect houses in which Ebola cases have been detected. It also provides disinfection kits and hygiene kits to communities.

An initial $400,000 has been secured so far to fund the response. A further $1.1 million will be needed as the work expands.

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