October 30, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Hackworth, senior director of external relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1.202.417.588
IMA World Health receives $1.7 million from OFDA to bolster Ebola response in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo – The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) today awarded IMA World Health $1.7 million to support urgent response efforts to the deadly Ebola outbreak in northeastern DR Congo.
The current outbreak has claimed at least 135 lives, with 232 cases diagnosed and more than 1,800 contacts being monitored for transmission of the virus in 10 health zones in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces. The public health risk of a regional outbreak remains high in the densely-populated area that borders Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan, the World Health Organization reports. A recent wave of violence in the affected area has made it difficult for health workers to respond to the outbreak.
In partnership with local communities, IMA World Health has rapidly mobilized to ensure health workers have the equipment and resources they need and reach at-risk health zones.
“IMA’s support of local organizations and communities strengthens government-led responses and helps ensure that the improvements continue beyond the crisis,” Dr. Larry Sthreshley said. Sthreshley is a PC(USA) missionary and IMA’s DRC country director, based in Kinshasa. “IMA is a trusted agency and that trust enables us to reach communities that are otherwise unreachable.”
In cooperation with DRC’s government and the WHO Strategic Response Plan, IMA and its partners, Tearfund and Programme de Promotion de Soins Santé Primaires (PPSSP), will rapidly implement a community-based prevention and response approach in 25 of the most affected health areas in the North Kivu and Ituri Provinces where more than 387,000 people are at risk. This effort will ensure that high-risk and difficult-to-access health areas and health facilities have the training, financial support, equipment and oversight to effectively address the current outbreak. The goals include reducing transmission; providing community-based surveillance and care; supporting the much-needed contact tracing, and addressing water, sanitation and hygiene-related issues.
“Enabling and equipping local health care workers to do the needed surveillance, follow up, and referral of suspect cases will go a long way in preventing the spread of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) in the community and get victims into treatment early on to increase their chance of survival ,” said Dr. William Clemmer, an American Baptist Churches-International Ministries missionary who supervises IMA’s Goma office in eastern Congo and will be leading the IMA-Ebola response team in the outbreak zone. Clemmer and Sthreshley have managed IMA’s response to prior Ebola outbreaks in DRC.
Since 2000, IMA has worked alongside the Congolese government, donors and an array of local and international partners to revitalize the country’s health system, fight diseases and improve access to health care. The Access to Primary Health Care Project, known locally as Accès Aux Soins De Santé Primaires or ASSP, supports DRC’s National Health Development Plan by working to improve access to and coverage of primary health care services for people living within 52 health zones in five of the country’s 26 provinces: Kasaï, Kasaï Central, Maniema, Nord-Ubangui and Tshopo. Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, IMA has led the consortium of implementing partners since 2012.
IMA World Health is a faith-based nonprofit that helps developing communities to overcome their public health challenges. Based in Washington, D.C. the agency has presence in six countries addressing an array of public health issues.