Children Must be at Heart of Response to Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo – UNICEF

June 5, 2018

  

NEW YORK (May 25, 2018) – Children continue to be at risk and are affected by the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), making it essential that their health and wellbeing are prioritized in the response.

“Schools are crucial for engaging children and their communities in the fight against Ebola,” said Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in the DRC, traveling back from the affected region. “That’s why UNICEF is putting in place measures to minimize the risk of transmission in schools, including temperature taking and handwashing.”

UNICEF is scaling up prevention efforts in schools across all three affected health zones. This includes ongoing efforts to install hand washing units in 277 schools and supporting awareness-raising activities, reaching more than 13,000 children in Mbandaka, Bikoro and Iboko.

UNICEF is also concerned about the wellbeing of children with family members who have contracted the disease. “Children whose parents or caregivers die of Ebola or who live in isolation because they had contact with an infected person, need psychosocial support to help them cope,” said Dr. Rotigliano.

Previous Ebola outbreaks have demonstrated the need for social workers to identify and assist vulnerable children. Twenty-two psychosocial agents trained by UNICEF and its partners are providing assistance to families that are affected by the Ebola outbreak, while UNICEF is also supporting 23 children and their families who have relatives infected with Ebola by supplying household kits and food rations.

UNICEF continues to work closely with communities to promote behaviors that help stop transmission, such as safe burials and handwashing. The children’s agency is also engaging in dialogue with community leaders, conducting outreach and supporting door-to-door awareness-raising campaigns. In Mdandaka, 706 community actors were identified and are being deployed for Ebola prevention communication and community social engagement.

 

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About UNICEF
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For more information, contact:
Erica Vogel, UNICEF USA, 212.922.2480, evogel@unicefusa.org

 

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