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EU releases €7.2 million to step up fight against Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo

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The Commission is allocating an additional € 7.2 million to strengthen its response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is not yet under control. Total EU response so far stands at € 12.83 million in 2018.

The EU funding will help partner organisations working on the ground to deploy extra capacities to the affected areas. It will improve surveillance and the capacity to trace victims of Ebola, notably early cases.

It also covers communication with affected communities on risks and how to prevent the spread of the disease including psycho-social support and preparedness for safe and dignified burials.

"We need to win the fight against the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has claimed, so far, over 150 lives. Overall EU support includes technical expertise, humanitarian air service, research funding and humanitarian assistance. We are working closely with the World Health Organization and the national authorities to fight the disease. We are not letting our guard down and we will continue our support for as long as it takes," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

During the weekend, Commissioner Stylianides spoke with Dr Tedros Gebreyesus, Director-General of World Health Organization. He reiterated the EU's strong support in the fight against Ebola and discussed the latest developments.

From the very beginning of the outbreak, the EU has provided various supporting measures in North Kivu Province:

  • The EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated following a request for assistance from the World Health Organization and a medical evacuation support team dispatched.
  • ECHO flight, the EU's humanitarian air service, has transported personnel, supplies and equipment to the Ebola-affected areas since early August. Commission humanitarian experts are on the ground in Beni, the Ebola-affected areas as well as in Goma and in Kinshasa. They are involved in the overall coordination of the response and they liaise daily with relevant actors, such as the Congolese Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization. The EU is the only donor having sustained presence in Beni.
  • In bordering countries, the EU is financially supporting the Red Cross to reinforce preparedness and prevention measures in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.
  • The Commission is also financially supporting Ebola vaccine development with over €160 million, the development of Ebola treatments has received over € 7 million, and diagnostic tests have also received over € 7 million.

Background

An updated National Plan for the Response to the Ebola virus disease epidemic in North Kivu Province was presented on 18 October 2018. This updated national plan responds to a continuing outbreak, initially declared on 1 August 2018.

The outbreak affects the Provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, both areas of open and ongoing conflict, densely populated and with considerable movements of people.

In addition to the emergency response to the two Ebola crisis in Equateur (in May) and in the North Kivu (since August), the Commission is implementing a €155 million cooperation programme to support the health sector in DRC. This programme aims at strengthening services both at national level and in seven provinces (Kasaï Oriental, Lomami, Kasaï Central, Nord Kivu, Ituri, Hait Uelé, Kongo Central) of the DRC, in order to enhance quality and comprehensive access of health care services for the population.

Publication date
22/10/2018