DRC —WHO has already vaccinated 18,748 frontline and healthcare workers in 12 health zones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province against Ebola.

This vaccine drive was held between June and September 2023, as part of a drive by the World Health Organization (WHO) to support countries in helping enhance epidemic preparation and save lives.

According to Dr. Boureima Hama Sambo, WHO Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, healthcare workers are responsible for preventing disease, responding to outbreaks, and lowering risk in communities; it is critical to get them vaccinated..

He went on to underline that the nature of their profession places them at an elevated danger of lethal infectious diseases such as Ebola, demanding preventive immunization.

Ebola immunization not only helps with preparedness measures, but it also strengthens health systems, opening the door for adult vaccine initiatives.

In her remarks, Dr. Nanou Yanga Mukadi, the EPI Ebola Vaccination Officer and Cholera Vaccination Focal Point, noted that prophylactic vaccination for frontline healthcare workers can be encouraged by utilizing professional associations of doctors, nurses, midwives, and laboratory technicians, as well as Ebola survivors, educational institutions, religious organizations, and humanitarian partners.

Dr. Mukadi pointed out that the planning process starts at the local level and is supported by partners, the intermediate and central levels, and the WHO through awareness-raising and in- and end-of-process monitoring to guarantee that the goals are reached.

Along with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau and Uganda have also begun preventive vaccination efforts. WHO urges other countries at high risk to also consider preventive Ebola vaccination.

With death rates between 70% and 90% in untreated cases, Ebola is a serious and frequently fatal illness. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa severely damaged both health facilities and communities.

In outbreaks, vaccinations against some strains of the virus have been used to stop the disease’s transmission, and other vaccines are now being developed.

Early supportive care that includes symptom management and rehydration increases survival.

The World Health Organization has issued strong guidelines for the use of two monoclonal antibody therapies for Ebola: REGN-EB3 (Inmazeb) and mAb114 (Ansuvimab; Ebanga).

About 50% of Ebola cases end in death on average. In previous outbreaks, case mortality rates have ranged from 25 to 90 percent, depending on the situation and the reaction.

A variety of measures are necessary for effective outbreak control, including patient care, infection prevention and control, disease surveillance, contact tracing, high-quality laboratory services, dignified and safe funerals, and societal mobilization.

Engaging the community is essential to effectively managing epidemics.

In order to safeguard frontline service providers and other health care workers who are at a high risk of exposure, WHO is urging nations to give vaccinations first priority.

With the aim of enhancing nation readiness for potential epidemics, WHO distributed 111 497 doses of the ERVEBO vaccine to high-risk African nations in 2023, drawing from the global stockpile.

Additionally, WHO helped the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s government organize and carry out operational and strategic planning and coordination of Ebola immunization programs. 

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