What Can We Learn From Congo’s Experience Combatting and Defeating Ebola?
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by We Hold These Truths | 6.29.20
This article has been authored by We Hold These Truths, a First Amendment oriented human rights campaign from the McCain Institute. Learn more about the DRC'S fight against Ebola, and click above to take action and make your voice heard.
What is it?
- On Thursday, June 25, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced that it had defeated the 10th outbreak of Ebola, almost two years after its initial discovery in the Central African country. During that time, an estimated 3,463 people were infected with the disease, killing 2,280 of them.
- DRC’s fight against Ebola represents the second worst Ebola pandemic ever and it is not fully over as a new strain of the virus has been found in the Mbandaka province.
- This has also been compounded by coronavirus, as the DRC has been forced to fight both at the same time.
Why is it important?
- There was a strong international response to combating the virus. More than 300,000 people were vaccinated and this was the first fully licensed vaccine to fight Ebola, which ultimately led to its containment.
- Despite the large scale international response, it was hindered by DRC’s weak healthcare system and violence from armed militias.
- This goes to show (to the extreme) how underlying institutional issues can hinder emergency public health responses.
- Distrust of the government also hindered the medical response, brought on by everyday corruption and a lack of accountability. If a government cannot be upfront and transparent on all issues with its citizens, it will lose the public trust and be ineffective when it matters most.
- The DRC’s fight against both Ebola advised for social distancing and used contact tracing, showing that these methods are effective in combating a highly transmittable pandemic disease.
What can you do?
- Read what the U.S. government did to help defeat Ebola in Congo through USAID.
- Read about some lessons learned for COVID-19 from DRC’s experience fighting Ebola.
- Get updates from the World Health Organization on Ebola.
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