Democratic Republic of Congo: Ebola

Department for International Development written question – answered on 5th August 2019.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Leader of the Liberal Democrats

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to overcome the (a) local mistrust of health officials and (b) militia violence which have impeded efforts to prevent the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo from spreading further.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second largest in history and the first in a conflict zone. The UK has been a major supporter of the response since the start, providing funding, technical expertise, and political support.

The response has been hampered by repeated attacks against health workers and health facilities. Improving community trust and ownership are essential to getting the outbreak under control. UK funding supports community engagement and working with local leaders and religious groups to foster trust and ownership. It supports efforts to understand community concerns better and feed this understanding back into the response. Examples include employing people who have recovered from Ebola to talk to communities about the health care they received as a way to build community trust in health workers.

The UK and other donors are also supporting the UN to strengthen security in Ebola affected areas to protect both communities and response workers.

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