World Vision has mobilised staff across East Africa to prepare for any further spread of the deadly Ebola virus from an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This week, it was announced that a young Congolese boy and his grandmother had died of Ebola in neighbouring Uganda.
"We are heavily involved in the response in the DRC, and we intend to use World Vision’s history of responding to major Ebola outbreaks to support communities wherever they face this fearsome disease. The tragic death of a five-year-old child and his grandmother in Uganda reminds us that Ebola does not respect borders – and where there are migrants and refugees, the risk of transmission is greatest." - Stephen Omollo, World Vision’s East Africa regional leader
World Vision staff in Uganda are working with communities on detection and prevention of the disease, and the necessary precautions to prevent its spread.
Other countries which share a border with the DRC – including Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania – are also on alert.
World Vision’s office in South Sudan has been commissioned by the Ministry of Health to lead the Ebola response in Western Equatoria State, on the border with the DRC. Staff are focused on screening arrivals at the border, and with surveillance, management of isolation units and supporting frontline health workers.
"We have reached more than 600,000 people with messages on how to recognise the symptoms of Ebola and prevent its spread, and nearly 300,000 individuals have been screened through border health points,” said Dr Henry Ilunga, health and nutrition specialist at World Vision in South Sudan.
“We have 100 health workers involved in our Ebola response but there is still more to do. The big challenge we face in South Sudan and across the region is funding. But imagine the costs if it does spread here and we are unprepared."