Kinshasa – The Government of Japan has given US$1m. to the IOM to expand the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) national Ebola response to other provinces – Kinshasa, Mai Ndombe, Tshopo and South Ubangi – and scale up the response in Equator province according to IOM release.
The funding will be used for the next phase of the national response plan which focuses on “resilience” with an emphasis on strengthening the capacity of the national response around borders. IOM will help screening 100,000 travellers at 30 key points of entry and congregated sites in Kinshasa, Mai-Ndombe, Equator, Tshopo, and South Ubangi provinces where IOM conducts surveillance, risk communication, infection prevention and control, population mobility mapping, and daily flow monitoring. Participatory mobility mapping and flow monitoring helps guide the Ebola response by revealing mobility pathways and volume.
Over 20,000 cross-border travellers will also be targeted. IOM is assisting in cross-border coordination with neighbouring countries, including the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo, which share borders with the Equateur province. Cross-border movements between the DRC and the capital of the Republic of Congo Brazzaville averages at around 1,086 people a day.
‘’We are continuing our efforts to contain the outbreak of the Ebola Virus from the aspects of human mobility as it is likely to amplify the spread contagious diseases,’’ said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM DRC Chief of Mission. ‘’Our focus has shifted to areas that are very challenging to access, making our partnership with the Congolese Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments more important than ever.’’
IOM has supported the deployment of surveillance staff to Equator province’s Itipo – the current hot-spot.
In partnership with the Congolese Ministry of Health and WHO, IOM conducted three Population Mobility Mapping studies in Mbandaka (19/05), Bikoro (01/06) and Itipo (23/06) to identify travel routes, points of entry and major transit sites.
IOM is also conducting daily flow monitoring at 16 data collection sites in Mbandaka, Bikoro, Iboko, Ingenge and Lukolera, to understand the mobility volume and profiles of travellers, including internal and cross-border movements.
IOM is an active global health security partner in the DRC, working closely with the Ministry of Health and WHO to put an international health regulation strategy in place, and help implement the strategy at the national and local levels. IOM is appealing for USD 4.5 million to continue strengthening points of entry and international health regulations.