DRC – Ebola virus

16 Dec 19

Twenty-two year old, Shukuru Lubung Esther was among 52 young people who recently took part in Ebola virus awareness training in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Shukuru 22 Took Part In Ebola Awarenss Training Cafod Caritas Australia (1) (1)
Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

DRC is grappling with the world’s second largest Ebola epidemic on record, with more than 2204 lives lost and a total of 3313 cases, including 3195 confirmed infections and 118 probable cases have been reported since the outbreak was declared on 1 August 2018.

Young people have been one of the community groups in the DRC resisting Ebola virus measures.

Women Listen To Talk On Ebola By Caritas Staff At A Mosque In Goma Drc (1)

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Ebola Survivors Katongo And Brother Kambale 24 Eat Meal Made From Food Provided By Caritas At Their Home In The Ebola Hit Town Of Magina

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), fear, misconceptions, lack of knowledge, a high fatality rate, along with the invasion by foreigners dressed in what looked like spacesuits have all encouraged community perceptions that hospitals are places of contagion and death.

The workshops which took place in the country’s Goma region, aim to empower youth, by giving them clear information on the Ebola Virus Disease, including modes of contamination and prevention measures.

Anita 19 Collects Food From Caritas In The Ebola Hit Town Of Mambasa Drc Promesse's Family Has Been Short Of Money And Food Since The Epidemic Hit Local Markets

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Women At Ebola Awareness Training Goma Credit Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

The training is funded by the Australian government, through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) and is implemented by CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development), as part of the CAN DO consortium (Church Agencies Network – Disasters Operations). Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) DRC is also an implementing partner of CAN DO’s Ebola response program, involved in community engagement, boosting prevention measures through Water Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) activities and providing water tanks, hygiene kits and education.

Shukuru, who is an apprentice car mechanic, says more people who have doubts about the Ebola virus disease should be encouraged to undertake this workshop.

“Before coming to this training, I knew that Ebola was a contagious disease,” Shukuru says. “But then people were brought to the hospital, even though they didn’t seem sick, and they were injected with water and afterwards died.”

In reality, Ebola patients were being given a saline drip to hydrate them – but many people, like Shukuru, misunderstood the disease.

Ebola Awareness Training Goma Credit Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Nineteen year old education student, Alliance Amani, says that she didn’t even know that Ebola existed before the training.

"I believed that patients were given medicine in hospitals to make them bleed,” Alliance says.

“From this training, I gained a good knowledge and information about Ebola. I will also inform and educate other young people to be informed and to avoid the spread of this disease,” Shukuru says.

Alliance 19 Took Part In Ebola Awareness Training Cafod Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Young people who received this training are now committed and determined to fulfil their obligations to share the training and spread the word, by teaching other young people in their region.