Amid what is now the longest and deadliest of the 10 Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, IMA World Health — with funding from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance — is joining the response efforts in the Ituri and North Kivu provinces, where IMA also implements the USAID-IMA World Health Counter-Gender Based Violence Program.
Focused on a target population of 764,060 people, IMA provides community outreach and mobilization by training and sensitizing community outreach workers and the general public on Ebola signs and symptoms, disease awareness, means of prevention and reduction of stigma; contact tracing in coordination with the World Health Organization-supported contact team; provision or rehabilitation of water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management facilities and equipment; and facilitating health facility-based infection prevention and control measures in 50 targeted at-risk health facilities.
IMA’s international partner, Tearfund, with extensive experience in providing quality WASH services to at-risk population, is assuring water, sanitation, and isolation measures at all supported facilities. The lead local partner, the Program for Promotion of Primary Health Care, or PPSSP, is a small faith-based organization with a commanding presence in North Kivu province, highly effective at community level interventions.
IMA and partners have a four-component strategy to address the most urgent needs:
- Community outreach and mobilization
- Contact tracing in association with WHO-supported contact team
- Health facility-based infection prevention and control (IPC)
- Water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH), and waste management in health facilities
IMA’s community outreach and mobilization approach includes deploying nurses and CHWs (relais communautaire) into targeted and at-risk communities for community-based messaging, contact tracing and enhanced surveillance.
IMA has undertaken daily community-based surveillance including case monitoring in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and WHO-supported surveillance teams. The health facility-based IPC approach includes a rapid survey and gender analysis, provision of IPC material and applied protocols, daily checklists, ongoing supervision and a monthly support package to ensure compliance. Cost efficient rapid and appropriate WASH repairs/renovations are being provided to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) isolation units of each of the central health centers in all 50 health facilities and comprise (1) light-touch clean water supply repair (2) latrine rehabilitation and repair (3) solid waste incinerator rehabilitation and (4) set aside areas for triage, isolation, PPE donning and doffing, and ambulance evacuation.
The impact of this approach ensures that high risk and difficult to access health areas and health facilities have the requisite training, financial support, equipment and supplies, and oversight to effectively address the outbreak of EVD; reduce transmission to patients and staff, provide community-based surveillance and care, ensure contact tracing is appropriately carried out, and reinforce WASH-related and positive behaviors.
Curtailment of transmission, reinforced capacity to care, and resilient communities will help to address the critical gaps in the current EVD outbreak.
IMA World Health receives $1.7 million from OFDA to bolster Ebola response in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
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