He was then transferred by ambulance to an Ebola treatment center, but it was too late. Pastor Daniel died on the way, sometime during the middle of the night.
The silver lining in this tragic story is that the Ministry of Health was able to track down all 18 passengers on the mini bus, who have subsequently been vaccinated and will be under observation for symptoms for three weeks. It’s critical detective work, tracing down anyone who had been in close contact with Pastor Daniel. It’s also the kind of work IMA World Health and our partners are here to do, supported by the U.S. government and your generosity.
Aside from fellow mini-bus passengers and the motorcycle-taxi drivers — who transported Pastor Daniel to his hotel and later to the clinic on Sunday afternoon — Daniel had no known contact with other individuals. The health facility where he was seen on Sunday has been disinfected and health care personnel have been vaccinated.
Yet the worry is not over. If any of the 18 other bus passengers develop symptoms or if the health ministry loses contact with them, the deadly Ebola virus may spread in this densely populated city of nearly 2 million people.
Goma is a significant transit hub for the region. It sits near the Democratic Republic of Congo-Rwanda border, where officials have expressed concern about the need to curtail the flow of traffic to limit Ebola’s spread.
But I hope that won’t be necessary, because of the shared effort here. IMA World Health and our local partners continue to work alongside Ministry of Health officials to promote and administer vaccinations, ensure health workers are trained on how to identify and quarantine cases, and help to trace anyone who may have come into contact with the infection.
It is a team effort, one we hope pays off in preventing more deaths. So far Ebola has claimed more than 1,500 lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including Pastor Daniel, who perished from the simple act of reaching out to those he loved.