Since August 2018, the world’s second-largest outbreak of Ebola has ravaged people’s lives in Democratic Republic of Congo, with more than 2,000 dying of the disease.

 

International Medical Corps, our partner there, has facilitated the construction of nearly 100 units in the region that have screened more than 1.2 million people so far. As well as working to identify new suspected cases and reduce infection, International Medical Corps has trained 1,711 health staff in infection prevention control and has cared for thousands of suspected and confirmed patients at its facilities.

Last September, one patient at the Ebola treatment centre in Mangina, North Kivu, was ready to give birth. Vomiting, and with abdominal pains, headache and vertigo, the patient was also suffering with Ebola. Doctors operated to deliver her baby via Caesarian section and a little girl, weighing 4.4lb, was born and placed immediately on experimental treatment in accordance with protocol for babies born to Ebola-positive mothers.

Despite being treated with donated medicines, the baby’s mother died, yet the baby – named Nicolette (which means ‘Victory of the people’) by doctors – has survived and is free of Ebola. This is relatively rare, as Marcia Roeder of International Medical Corps explains. “Nicolette’s story continues to inspire our staff, as newborns of Ebola-positive mothers rarely survive. IHP’s support provides the pharmaceuticals necessary to make victories like this possible.”

Our latest shipment of donated medicines and supplies arrived in Goma last week, including 24 packs full of basic medicines such as paracetamol, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and medications to treat parasites, and medical supplies such as catheters and blood collection needles. In total, the packs contain nearly 20,000 treatments: much-needed medicines that will help fill growing gaps, Marcia told us. “Anti-inflammatory medicines like piroxicam, anti-histamines like cetirizine, diuretics like bendroflumethiazide and antifungals like econazole do not appear on institutional donors’ approved medication lists, but we still need them to treat a variety of health concerns,” she explained.  

Donations fill gaps by giving International Medical Corps’ teams access to medicines that can’t be procured, as well as the flexibility to use them as needed. With our support, the fatality rate at its Ebola treatment centres has reached a low of 33%. 

This outbreak in the east of the country is DRC’s 10th outbreak of Ebola, in March there were celebrations as the last person confirmed with Ebola was discharged from treatment facilities. Since this time, a handful of further cases were identified in the region. Additionally, earlier this week, an 11th outbreak has been identified in the north-western part of the country, and so the struggle to bring this deadly outbreak to a close will continue.

 

With our support, International Medical Corps continues to build local capacity, establish trust, and bring people into health facilities for screening and education.

Help us keep the supply of essential medicines flowing. Donate today.

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