While the social actors and churches were mobilized to work hard for preventing the population against COVID-19 (which is reported in Kinshasa from March 10th, 2020); another new bad news has suddenly sounded like a clap of thunder: the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Mbandaka.
In fact, we can remember this virus recently plunged the territory of Bikoro (128km from Mbandaka) into mourning between the months of April and July 2018 before it was reported in the Province of North Kivu (especially Butembo and Beni) where it has up to now killed 2280 victims. The current Ebola epidemic is the 11th that the DRC reports from the first outbreak in 1976.
The epicenter of this epidemic in Mbandaka is the area called « Air-Congo », a place located in the east part of the city (not far away from the airport). The contamination has gone faster due to the family and friendly solidarity and sympathy developed with the first victims whose diagnosis was not made on time. It is only the last Monday, 01.06.2020 the laboratory test revealed patients suffered from this fatal virus of Ebola.
Among the reported victims, CDCC has directly been affected from Ebola. The church district of Mbandaka is in a deep consternation due to the death of two youth church leaders members of two congregations (Air-Congo Parish lost their Youth President who also was the Youth secretary of the district of Mbandaka. Two other victims are reported in Nouvelle-cité Parish). Nobody can say how many other persons are currently infected by the contacts they can have got with the victims. The fear is that the contamination chain will be long.
The Wangata General Hospital is the main place prepared for the transfer of patients for appropriate medical service. Until now, seven persons died and four patients are quarantined in the rooms laid out for the cause. A new site at the entrance of the hospital is built in order to receive the possible new patients. However, the Congolese government cannot succeed alone such a heavy burden unless the social partners (such as the local churches and International NGOs) intervene.
Therefore, the CDCC, one of the local humanitarian actors, referring to the expected seriousness of the epidemic fears an overflowing of the situation. On Thursday, June 4th, the Management Committee met and identified some areas of the church intervention, stating CDCC action will focus on:
- The protection of the health staff and the promotion of hygienic conditions in Mbandaka and Bolenge health stations;
- A substantial support in medicines (first care);
- A sensitization campaign of masses (warning the population on the danger they are facing unless they respect hygienic conditions). The use of radio and other communication channels is required. This sensitization has to touch the territories of Bikoro (already infected), Lukolela, Bomongo, Ingende, Bolomba, Basankusu and even the Province of Tshuapa (Boende).
Then, there is a necessity for a strong fight against Ebola in Mbandaka in order to prevent both local population and the territories which, for economic and health reasons are directly connected to this city. In the meantime, actions and prayers against COVID-19 continue the way.
Mbandaka, June 7, 2020