12 more cases have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the weekend increasing the total outbreak numbers to 3,081.
This has prompted the DRC to launch new infection prevention and control (IPC) efforts with the support of global health partners to curb healthcare-acquired infections.
Since August, the DRC’s multisector Ebola response committee (CMRE) has noted 10 more cases which include a healthcare worker in Butembo.
There’s an overall 157 medical team members infected by the virus which includes 41 deaths.
According to officials, 5 percent of people infected by Ebola in the DRC have been health workers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) online Ebola dashboard reflects 2 new cases on Tuesday, putting the outbreak total at 3,081. Health officials are still investigating 403 suspected infections.
The two recent CMRE updates show that illnesses were reported in five locations. Three were reported in Mambasa, 2 in Beni, and 2 in Kyondo. In addition, Butembo, Katwa, and Mandima each had 1 case.
The Ebola fatality now stands at 2,064, with seven deaths covered in the two more recent CMRE updates, four occurred in community settings, which increases the risk of transmission, and three happened at Ebola treatment centres.
The DRC’s health ministry on Sep 5 launched IPC guidelines and training targeting more than 3,000 nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers, according to a Sep 6 WHO statement.
The spread of Ebola to medical staff and among patients has been a persistent problem in the DRC’s outbreak.
The new steps by the DRC government are designed to shore up potential weak points and use standard guidelines revised by experts from the health ministry, the WHO, UNICEF, and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The WHO’s regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said in the statement: “As part of our commitment to strengthening the health system of the DRC, we want to ensure that health facilities are not contributing to the spread of infectious diseases and this includes Ebola.”
The IPC training package is supported with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK Department for International Development, and the World Bank.
The package will be rolled out over the next 3 months, beginning in Goma and targeting healthcare workers and others involved in the primary response. The WHO said the efforts will be monitored over the coming year to evaluate the effectiveness of the new steps.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.