As Ebola casualties continue to rise in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Direct Relief has shipped critical protective equipment to the region to safeguard patients and healthcare workers from the disease.
Ebola is an infectious and often fatal disease that results in fever and severe internal bleeding. It is highly contagious through infected bodily fluids such as sweat, blood, and saliva, and remains infectious even after death. Access to proper protective gear is critical to prevent the spread of disease.
Protective coveralls, latex gloves, N-95 masks, as well as requested medicines and sutures, were shipped to the Ministry of Health in North Kivu, and will be transported from there to Beni, near the epicenter of the current outbreak.
Direct Relief is also supporting the Wellness Clinic at New Hope Center, which is located in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Ebola cases have been reported within 150 miles of the clinic, according to clinic staff.
Forty-two deaths and 66 cases of confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola have been recorded in the North Kivu and Ituri Provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo since Aug. 1.
Eight of those cases include health workers infected by the current outbreak, which resulted in one fatality, according to the World Health Organization. Health workers are at particular risk of exposure, especially if they don’t have access to proper protective gear.
Health officials are working to determine the full extent of the outbreak. The North Kivu province is among the most populated in the country, and shares borders with four other provinces, as well as the countries of Uganda and Rwanda. The sheer number of people living in the area, along with frequent transit between cities and neighboring countries, has health officials on alert.
At the same time, the country is also experiencing several other epidemics as well as a long-term humanitarian crisis, according to the WHO.
Direct Relief will continue to respond to requests made from the region.