Developing Trust With Local Communities Vital To Ebola Response In DRC

New Humanitarian: Resetting the Ebola response in Congo means trusting the people affected
Juliet Bedford, director at Anthrologica, and Melissa Leach, director at the Institute of Development Studies

“After more than 1,240 deaths since the Ebola outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo last August, international agencies and partners are calling for a reset in the Ebola response — requiring the adoption of a strengthened strategy centered on community ownership. … [I]t is only through strengthening community-based surveillance and locally led response actions that the outbreak will be controlled. … Building capacities at the local level is, however, only part of the solution. ‘Trust’ works both ways. It is impressed on communities that they must trust the response, but it is vital that the response trusts communities. … [C]reating more space to enable meaningful community participation in this context is urgently needed. This will not be an easy reset, but it is essential if the current outbreak is to come to an end” (5/24).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: Ebola patients are human beings not biosecurity threats
Valérie Gruhn, nurse who has worked for MSF in DRC, Iraq, and Kenya

“…Behind every Ebola ‘case’ were real people that were afraid — afraid to have their limited belongings burned to prevent the disease from spreading, afraid they wouldn’t be able to celebrate the lives of their loved ones when burying them, afraid they would be taken against their will into a treatment center. … It will not be possible to end this outbreak without building the trust of those affected. We have to listen to the needs of communities, see them as people, give them choices when it comes to managing their health, and involve them in every aspect of the Ebola response” (5/28).

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