Emergencies

Emergencies

Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
29 August 2019
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued this week with similar transmission intensity to the previous six weeks, with an average of 77 cases per week…

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Polio :: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo)
Six cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) have been reported in the past week: one each from Djalo-Ndjeka, Vanga-Kete, Katako-Kombe, and Bena-Dibele districts from Sankuru State; one from Kilwa district, Katanga State; and, one from Mukanga, Haut Lomami State. The onsets of paralysis were on 10 July, 18 July, 17 July, 9 July, 29 June, and 22 June 2019 respectively. There are 23 cases of cVDPV2 reported in 2019. There were 20 cVDPV2 cases reported in 2018.  DRC is currently affected by nine separate cVDPV2 outbreaks; one each originated in Haut Katanga, Mongala, Sankuru, Tanganika, Tshuapa, Kasai, Kasai Central, and two in Haut Lomami provinces.
Read our Democratic Republic of the Congo country page to see information on surveillance and vaccination campaigns.

Measles control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [in French] 28 August 2019

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As Ebola cases reach 3000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, WHO calls on all partners to fulfill promises to communities
29 August 2019 News release Geneva
As the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reaches 3000 cases, WHO calls for the full force of all partners to respond and increase their presence in the field to stop Ebola and to address one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises in the world.

“Our commitment to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is that we will work alongside them to stop the Ebola outbreak,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Our commitment also means strengthening health systems to give them all the other things they need. Building strong systems is what will protect people, communities and the world.“

With a population of 80 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has more than 4 million displaced and is home to the world’s second largest food crisis with 13 million people food insecure. Since January 2019, there have been outbreaks of cholera (15,331 cases, 287 deaths), measles (161,397 cases, 3,117 deaths) and malaria, the leading cause of death in the DRC, which kills more than 48,000 people every year.

Dr Tedros will accompany UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on his mission to the country this weekend, along with senior officials, including Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“We are working in an incredibly complex environment, but thanks to support from donors and actions taken by the Ministry of Health, WHO and partners, we have saved thousands of lives,” said Dr Moeti. “We strive towards a much more united approach and call on NGOs and UN partners to continue to accelerate all activities. Everyone has a role to play and we each must be accountable for what we signed up to do, only then will we end this outbreak.”…

More than 200,000 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with health and frontline workers in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. Two therapeutic treatments being used in the country as part of a clinical trial have shown to save 9 of 10 lives if used at the right time.

More than 89 million screenings within the country and at international borders have helped control the spread, by identifying and providing care to anyone with symptoms. On 29 August, Ugandan health officials announced confirmation of another case in the country: a child who had crossed over from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As this alert underlines, regional preparedness will remain key.

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UNICEF – Protecting children and engaging communities key to ending Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as deaths pass 2,000
Statement attributable to Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
KINSHASA, 30 August 2019 – “Almost 600 children have now lost their lives to the Ebola outbreak in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) out of almost 850 who have caught the deadly virus since the epidemic started in August 2018. The news that the total number of deaths has now passed 2,000, out of more than 3,000 cases, should act as a rallying cry for us all to step up our efforts to defeat this terrible disease and end this outbreak.
“As the numbers continue to grow, it is vital to remember that each one of these cases is somebody’s child, a son or daughter; a mother, father, brother or sister. And each of these deaths leaves a family not only in mourning but also scared and worried about their own exposure to the disease.

“That is why supporting, engaging and raising awareness among the affected communities are key in ending this outbreak. The recent breakthrough in finding a successful treatment for this disease, and the continued effectiveness of vaccination efforts to prevent transmission and infection, mean that, for the first time, we now have the means to both prevent and treat Ebola. However, these breakthroughs mean little if individuals are too scared to seek treatment, or too slow to spot symptoms. By ensuring that the local population are informed, engaged and invested in the response, we stand the best chance of defeating the disease.

Preventing infection among children must also be central to the continued response. We know that more children, proportionately, are being affected than in any previous Ebola outbreak, and Ebola ravages children in ways that are very different from adults. What we do to treat and care for them must respond to their unique needs – physical, psychological and social. As such, UNICEF is working with partners, to meet children’s immediate and longer-term needs, accompanying them and their families every step of the way.

“The reality is that we need far more international support now. Ebola outbreaks need an exceptional level of investment compared to other disease outbreaks because they require 100 per cent of cases to be treated, and 100 per cent of contacts to be traced and managed. UNICEF requires US$126 million to meet the needs of children and communities, immediately and over the medium-term.  As of yet, UNICEF has only funded 31 per cent of the appeal.”

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Notes for editors:
UNICEF works with partners on three broad areas of the response to support the overarching goal of ultimately defeating Ebola and getting to zero cases.

:: Risk communication and community engagement to inform, protect and engage communities. We work with a broad swathe of influential community and religious leaders, Ebola survivors, psychosocial workers, and mass media, to bring crucial knowledge on symptoms, prevention and treatment, to the households and communities most at-risk. We are learning from continuous research and analysis of community feedback to better understand local needs, fears and concerns, and to adapt the response, to one that is socially and culturally acceptable. We have made changes to the burials process; we are conducting decontamination at night; and we are responding with a lighter footprint. We will keep listening and learning.

:: Infection prevention and control to help prevent further spread of the disease. We have installed handwashing units in over 2,500 health facilities, 2,300 schools and over 7,000 critical transit sites. We distribute supplies, including thermometers and chlorine to treat water. And we’ve enabled over 2.1 million people to gain access to safe water.

:: Psychosocial support to assist families, particularly children affected by the disease. UNICEF and its partners have trained more than 918 psychosocial workers to assist children and families directly affected by the disease, and people who are contacts of those who have contracted the disease. We set up childcare centres next to the Ebola treatment centres in Beni and Butembo, where Ebola-survivors look after young children who have been separated from their parents due to Ebola treatment or orphaned.

:: UNICEF has deployed 8 nutritionists to provide specialized care for children (and adults) in the Ebola treatment centres. This is the first time an Ebola outbreak response has included this kind of care, and there is growing recognition among responders that it plays a vital role in the overall health status of patients.

:: We work in over 6,509 schools across the affected and at-risk areas to build a protective environment for children. This includes distributing health and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, including handwashing units and laser thermometers. Some 32,250 teachers and principals, and 928,500 students have received sensitization or training on Ebola.

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IFRC – Ebola: As death toll approaches 2,000, vaccines, treatment and behaviour change equally important
Nairobi/Geneva 27 August 2019—The availability of an effective vaccine against Ebola and the recent confirmation of two effective treatments do not negate the importance of building trust and understanding in communities affected by the outbreak, warns the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)…

Dr Emanuele Capobianco, IFRC’s Director of Health and Care said:
“The importance of these new treatments – and the continued roll out of vaccines – are not to be underestimated. But alone they are not enough. Now is the time to double down on efforts to engage at-risk communities. For the treatments to work, people need to trust them and the medical staff who administer them. This will take time, resources and a lot of hard work.”

Continued high levels of distrust mean that many Ebola patients are delaying or avoiding going to health facilities. This reluctance significantly decreases their chance of survival, even with access to the newest treatments. It also dramatically increases the risk that the virus will spread to family members and other care givers. More than 42 per cent of alerts that Red Cross receives to bury a loved one are coming from a death at home.

IFRC’s Capobianco said:
“We are asking people to leave the safety of their homes when they fall sick to go to an isolated cell in an Ebola treatment centres where their lives are in the hands of complete strangers. We are asking communities to change the way they care for the sick and the dead in ways that go against their traditions. And we are doing all this in communities that have learned to distrust outsiders following decades of violence and unrest.
“This is our biggest challenge. It is a behavioural challenge, not a medical one. And unfortunately, there is no magic pill to change behaviours.”…

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POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 28 August 2019
:: Technical Advisory Group on Polio Eradication in Afghanistan met on 25-26 August 2019 to discuss and propose recommendations on a range of thematic areas in combatting the ongoing wild poliovirus transmission in the region including: access issues, ban on house-to-house campaigns, optimizing community engagement, and geographic prioritization.

Summary of new viruses this week:
:: Pakistan —  five wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases;
:: Nigeria — one circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2)-positive healthy contact sample;
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo— six cVDPV2 cases;
:: Ghana — one cVDPV2-positive environmental sample.

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Editor’s Note:
WHO has posted a refreshed emergencies page which presents an updated listing of Grade 3,2,1 emergencies as below.
WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 31 Aug 2019]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Disease Outbreak News (DONs) Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
29 August 2019
:: As Ebola cases reach 3000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, WHO calls on all partners to fulfill promises to communities 29 August 2019
:: Measles control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [in French] 28 August 2019
[See DRC Ebola+ above for detail]

Nigeria
:: WHO supports Cross River State in administering polio vaccines to Cameroonian refugees
22 August 2019

Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 31 Aug 2019]

Cameroon
:: WHO supports Cross River State in administering polio vaccines to Cameroonian refugees
22 August 2019

Libya
:: On the alert: WHO trains Libyans to prevent and control deadly diseases 22 August 2018

MERS-CoV
:: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
26 August 2019 From 1 through 31 July 2019, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported 9 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) infection and 4 associated deaths.

Measles in Europe
:: European Region loses ground in effort to eliminate measles 29-08-2019
[See Milestones above for detail]

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi floods – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 31 Aug 2019]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: Humanitarian Update Syrian Arab Republic – Issue 05 | 29 August 2019

Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
Editor’s Note:
Ebola in the DRC has bene added as a OCHA “Corporate Emergency” this week:
CYCLONE IDAI and Kenneth
:: 22 August 2019 Southern Africa Humanitarian Snapshot (August 2019)

EBOLA OUTBREAK IN THE DRC – No new digest announcements identified

 

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