Ebola – DRC
Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
9 May 2019
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response this past week continues to be hampered by insecurity. On 3 May in Katwa, a Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB) team was violently attacked following the completion of a burial for a deceased EVD case. In Butembo and surrounding health zones, response activities were repeatedly halted due to a number of serious security incidents taking place from 4-6 May. On 8 May, a group of over 50 armed militia infiltrated the city centre. Security forces repelled the attack following intense gunfire in close proximity to staff accommodations. Although activities resumed on 9 May, after almost five consecutive days of suspension, threats of further attacks against EVD response teams and facilities remain prevalent.
These security incidents, and especially the resultant lack of access to EVD affected communities, remain a major impediment to the response, with teams unable to perform robust surveillance nor deliver much needed treatment and immunisations. The ongoing violent attacks sow fear, perpetuate mistrust, and further compound the multitude of challenges already faced by frontline healthcare workers. Without commitment from all groups to cease these attacks, it is unlikely that this EVD outbreak can remain successfully contained in North Kivu and Ituri provinces…
Struggling with Scale: Ebola’s Lessons for the Next Pandemic
Center for Global Development – Report – May 9, 2019 :: 82 pages
The next global pandemic is a matter of when, not if. Preparing for this inevitability requires that policy¬makers understand not just the science of limiting dis¬ease transmission or engineering a drug, but also the practical challenges of expanding a response strategy to a regional or global level. Achieving success at such scales is largely an issue of operational, strategic, and policy choices—areas of pandemic preparedness that remain underexplored.
The response to the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa illuminates these challenges and highlights steps toward better preparedness. Ebola was a known disease whose basic transmission pathways and con¬trol strategies were understood. Yet traditional Ebola control strategies were premised on small, non-urban outbreaks, and they rapidly proved inadequate as the disease reached urban environments, forcing policy¬makers to develop new strategies and operational plat-forms for containing the outbreak, which generated unique policy challenges and political pressures. Lack¬ing a blueprint for controlling Ebola at scale, response leaders scrambled to catch up as the disease began threatening the wider West African region.
This report explores the lessons of the Ebola outbreak through the lens of the US and UN policymakers who were forced to construct an unprecedented response in real time. It tells the story of their choices around four major policy challenges:
:: Operationalizing the US government response
:: Balancing the politics and the science of travel restrictions
:: Defining the role of a reluctant military
:: Coordinating complex international partnerships
The report draws on interviews with 19 high-level US and UN policymakers, a desk review of after-action reports, and the author’s own experiences while lead¬ing the response efforts of the US Agency for Interna¬tional Development (USAID).