Community Engagement, Comprehensive Response Critical To DRC’s Ebola Efforts

Devex: Opinion: In DRC Ebola crisis, every red line has been crossed
Jean-Philippe Marcoux, country director in DRC for Mercy Corps

“The international community must urgently apply the hard-won lessons from previous outbreaks of Ebola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the country’s deadliest outbreak rages across its conflict-hit eastern provinces. … Within the constraints of this difficult context, the DRC Ministry of Health is leading the international medical response with WHO, but more support is urgently needed — specifically, funding for more agile partners who are already on the ground in conflict-hit areas, and are now on the frontlines of the epidemic too. … Community engagement is going to be critical to curbing the spread of Ebola and controlling this epidemic. … Building out a comprehensive response to the outbreak is our best shot at containing this epidemic, preventing future recurrences, and alleviating the suffering of the population of North Kivu who is affected by a continuing armed crisis. For too long, the humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC has been ignored. A lack of infrastructure, weak governance, and stunted economy has only intensified the suffering of the Congolese. … Let’s not [fail] to provide adequate support for the worst Ebola epidemic to strike the country” (12/20).