By Dipo Olowookere
The United States government has announced the provision of $1 million to curtail the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The United States provided this assistance through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on May 18, 2018.
These funds, which reflect the US government’s initial financial response, will go to the World Health Organization (WHO) in support of the joint government of the DRC and WHO Strategic Response Plan, which will provide technical, operational, and personnel support in response to the Ebola outbreak.
The Strategic Plan focuses on prevention, detection, treatment, and response in order to reduce cases and deaths, and prevent the spread of the disease within the DRC and to other countries.
In addition, USAID is coordinating with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the WHO, and partners on the ground on response efforts, and contributing to situational reports, and field activities.
The American agency is currently providing approximately 2,000 personal protective equipment kits, laboratory materials to confirm diagnostic testing, and technical expertise, while leveraging assistance from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network on the ground. Furthermore, USAID has mobilized public health experts to serve as surge capacity in this mission.
USAID has a long history of engagement in the health sector in the DRC and has supported yearly response efforts for infectious and vaccine preventable disease outbreaks, including Ebola in 2015 and 2017, yellow fever in 2016, and polio, measles, and cholera in 2017.
The agency partners with local and international actors to deliver critical support to national laboratories, disease surveillance, and emergency operations. USAID has a 28-person health team in the DRC, half of whom have experience dealing with infectious diseases. USAID’s current response efforts build on agency investments in the last five years to strengthen health services and improve public health in the DRC.
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