Ebola remains an endemic threat across central Africa and in DRC in particular. The outbreak, which started in August 2018, was the largest in the country’s history. It was also the first for which Ebola vaccines were available and where treatment protocols meant people survived the disease.
The response has been as challenging as it has been robust. A host of international NGOs joined UN and other actors in ramping up efforts to contain the outbreak, carry out contact tracing and surveillance, install transport and treatment protocols, and other critical work to contain the virus.
Working in eastern Congo comes with mobility challenges that were exacerbated in this response by security concerns. More than 100 militia groups fight for resources and territory, with significant risks to civilians, health care workers, and organizations involved in the response. Misinformation, myths about the disease and stigma against families who suffered a loss because of Ebola were significant challenges.