This week, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) launched Ebola virus disease management activities in the Beni health zone of the Democratic Republic of Congo, supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Health. In the Butsili and Kanzulinzuli health centers, MSF’s response focuses on triage, detection, and isolation of suspected cases. Our teams, alongside those of the Ministry of Health, carry out outpatient consultations for patients of all ages admitted to the isolation unit.
MSF’s team will ensure the rehabilitation and structural improvements of the two health centers and assist with sustaining the supply of medicines and food for the patients admitted to the isolation centre and their companions. In addition, we will provide technical support to monitor community activities in order to locate and identify contact cases in the community, but also social monitoring of all high-risk contacts through the distribution of kits including telephones and food to make it easier for people suspected to have Ebola to self-isolate and limit viral transmission. People at high risk, including contacts of confirmed cases and first responders, will be vaccinated to contain the spread of the virus.
Between October 8, when the first positive case was detected, and October 20, 2021, five new cases were confirmed, including three deaths, in the Butsili health center. A previous epidemic was officially declared over on May 3, 2021, in Butsili, with an assessment of five confirmed cases including three deaths and 308 contacts followed in the area, according to data from health authorities.
The Beni health zone was one of the epicentres of the 2018–2020 Ebola virus disease outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is located about 50 kilometers from the town of Butembo, the scene of an epidemic between February 7 and May 3, 2021. MSF teams have been involved in all responses, particularly in the face of the severe epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri, which was declared over in 2020.