Ebola survivor Ruth Kavira Sikwaya from Butembo. She contracted Ebola in November 2018 and was treated at the Ebola Treatment Center in Etave, Butembo.
Photo: ©UN/Martine Perret


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The number of Ebola survivors is rising steadily thanks to innovative treatment methods. An effective vaccine can also mitigate further spread.

Although the current outbreak is the largest and longest running Ebola outbreak the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has experienced, new tools are now available to help stop the virus and save lives, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported in early October 2019. A thousand people have survived Ebola so far, they announced. 

A highly effective vaccine (shown to have 97.5 per cent efficacy) has protected over 226,000 people. New treatments, that recent study results show can save over 90 per cent of people who come early during their illness, improve survival rates of people infected with Ebola.

The outbreak, declared on 1 August 2018, started in North Kivu and has since spread to parts of Ituri and South Kivu provinces. Currently, active transmission is confined to Ituri, in several hotspots – Mambasa and Mandima –, but the epidemic is evolving in an extremely complex environment marked by poor health infrastructure, political instability, insecurity, community mistrust and resistance, and ongoing conflict involving scores of armed groups.

Revolutionising type and level of care

Through an integrated UN system-wide approach, the United Nations scaled-up its efforts in May in support of the DRC government-led response in the areas of public health, assistance to Ebola-affected communities, political engagement, security and strengthened financial management.

Seven Ebola treatment centres and numerous transit centres have provided care for people in the many areas affected by Ebola, making it possible for those who seek treatment to survive.

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