DRC uses the Ebola response experience to mobilize against COVID-19

While the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is confronting the public health emergency posed by COVID-19, the country still faces the last phase of its Ebola virus epidemic. Since August 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) remains on the frontlines facing the country’s tenth Ebola virus outbreak.

108 health screening points were established at borders crossings, entrances to major cities and other busy transit hubs, mainly in eastern DRC. In these points, travelers wash their hands and get checked for Ebola disease symptoms. Over 170 million travelers have been screened and 10,000 alerts reported in April.

To date, 4,000 persons have been affected by the Ebola Virus disease in RDC.

In the commune of Gombe–the current epicenter of COVID-19 in the DRC–IOM has established over 60 handwashing stations and five new screening points. IOM also tries to see that anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 is isolated and receives care.

COVID-19 currently affects seven provinces in the country. However, an isolation site for less severe confirmed COVID-19 cases was opened by OIM in the capital city, Kinshasa. With an initial capacity of around 100 patients, this venue allows the most vulnerable to be isolated while being assisted.

Since the beginning of April, more than half a million people have been checked for symptoms of the disease at these new screening points. A total of 23 cases of alerts have been reported to the authorities for further investigation.

“We are now building on this expertise to support the measures taken by the authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the country”, said Fabien Sambussy, IOM Chief of Mission in the DRC.

+The first case of COVID-19 was reported on 10 March 2020 in Kinshasa. Since then, the number of COVID-19 patients has increased, exceeding 700 cases at the beginning of May.