The spread of COVID-19 poses a grave threat in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world and has an extremely weak health care system. It already has a high burden of communicable diseases and has been battling an Ebola outbreak from 2018-2020 which has claimed over 2,000 lives. In addition, the DRC is facing the worst measles outbreak in the world, which has to date infected 320,000 people and killed over 6,000.The growing number of COVID-19 cases will only further strain the health care system putting the most vulnerable communities at risk once again in one of the most fragile countries in Africa.
With funding from Irish Aid’s Emergency Response Fund Scheme World Vision is helping respond to the threat of COVID-19 by reaching 115,792 people in Kinshasa the capital city of DRC. World Vision is working to scale up preventative measures to limit the spread of the virus by training 30 community and faith leaders about how COVID-19 spreads, how to stop it and equipping them to share those messages with their communities using Channels of Hope. World Vision is also helping strengthen health systems and workers to respond by providing personal protective equipment such as gloves, medical grade masks, aprons, face shields, and goggles to 14 health care centres in some of the poorest communities.
Drawing on World Vision’s experience in the response to the Ebola outbreak in DRC, World Vision knows that early, and quick preventive measures that engage communities are needed to stop the spread of COVID-19.“The fight against COVID-19 will be much more difficult if we wait for people to get sick and flood hospitals where the availability of advanced equipment like ventilators to manage severe respiratory illness or even the diagnostic tests are non-existent. We need to hurry.” explains World Vision DRC National Director Anne-Marie.
World Vision is responding to COVID-19 by scaling up preventative measures with a focus on fragile and humanitarian contexts. Over the next six months, World Vision’s response aims to reach 22.5 million people, 11 million of which are children, with efforts to strengthen health systems and workers, and child protection, education, food security and livelihoods interventions to support those impacted by COVID-19.