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Essential Medicines Bolster Health Facilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo as Ebola Threat Looms

Fatal cases of the disease continue to rise, and health facility staff are taking precautions as they treat patients.



Medical aid and protective gear was packaged for transport from Direct Relief's warehouse in August 2018, bound for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the country's outbreak of Ebola began last August, Direct Relief has shipped more than $8.5 million in medical aid to health facilities providing health care in the country. (Bryn Blanks/Direct Relief)

More cases of Ebola were reported this week, bringing the total number of confirmed and suspected cases to 817, more than 500 of which have resulted in death.

Though many more people died in the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, the latest outbreak of the disease, which began in August 2018, has a higher fatality rate, concerning health officials and prompting neighboring countries to screen travelers.

Containing the deadly outbreak has been complicated by political upheaval and armed conflict. But hospitals and health centers are working to continue treating patients even while taking precautions to protect themselves.

Click on the dashboard above to see where health officials are tracking cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Click on the dashboard above to see where health officials are tracking cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Since the Ebola outbreak began last August, Direct Relief has sent $8.59 million in medical aid to health facilities across the Democratic Republic of Congo to bolster continued medical care.

Insulin has been shipped to DRC’s Diabetes Association, which has distributed insulin to children depending on the medication to manage their diabetes as part of the Life for a Child program. Fistula repair surgeries also continue to take place for women suffering from the debilitating childbirth injury, high rates of which are found throughout the DRC. Fistula repair modules, containing surgical supplies for the surgery and recovery period, have been sent to several hospitals across the country, including St. Joseph’s Hospital, located in Kinshasa. Heal Africa, located in Goma, has also received supplies to enable fistula surgeries to continue.

As the outbreak continues, Direct Relief is supporting facilities across the DRC as well as in neighboring countries like Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

In southwestern Uganda, the Bwindi Community Hospital, located in Buhoma Kinungu, has also taken precautions to train staff as they carry out care for patients. A shipment of essential medicines, including IV fluids, antibiotics, prenatal vitamins and other requested items is en route to the hospital currently from Direct Relief.

Health needs persist, even against the backdrop of disease and conflict, but health staff across the DRC, and region, are working to see patients, just as they always have.

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