The World Health Organization has declared the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a public health emergency of international concern. The outbreak has already claimed more than 1,860 lives, making it the second deadliest outbreak on record. Hampered by violence against healthcare workers, superstition and community mistrust, the current outbreak is far from over. The European Union is stepping up funding for efforts to contain the Ebola virus in the DRC, and also helping countries neighbouring the Ebola-affected areas in the DRC to strengthen their Ebola prevention and preparedness measures.
In Uganda, the EU contributes to funding for the Uganda Red Cross Society, through the International Federation of the Red Cross, to engage with at-risk communities close to the border with the DRC. Health workers and community volunteers are at the forefront of these efforts, giving information and creating awareness on Ebola prevention and management among families. They also demonstrate to communities how to conduct safe and dignified burials of Ebola victims. Readiness is key. This is why the EU supports preparedness actions that could stop the virus in its tracks.
Text by Bertha Wangari, information and communications assistant, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)