Description of the disaster
On May 8, 2018 the 9th Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was declared by the Ministry of Health. On 1st of August 2018, just one week after the declaration of the end of the Ebola outbreak in Equator province, the 10th Ebola epidemic of the DRC was declared in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. Both provinces are among the most populated areas in the DRC and bordering Uganda and Rwanda.
The provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have been experiencing intense insecurity and a worsening humanitarian crisis with over one million internally displaced people (IDPs) and a continuous efflux of refugees to neighbouring countries, including Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania. Population mobility in the area is high, including cross-border movements, due to the high number of traders and miners, displaced populations and insecurity caused by rebels and militias in the area. This has been identified as a significant risk for disease transmission in the EVD outbreak, including cross border transmission. Additionally, the security situation in North Kivu has hindered the implementation of response activities to control the EVD outbreak. In this context, the public health risk is considered very high at both national and regional level.
Since the onset of the 10th EVD outbreak in DRC, WHO has deployed Preparation Support Teams (PST) to countries neighbouring DRC to assess EVD readiness and support the development of preparedness strategies with governments and other stakeholders, including RC/RC National Societies. Based on the countries risk profiles, WHO categorized four countries- Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, and Burundi as Priority-1 countries. All four countries have active EVD preparedness DREF operations being implemented. Angola, Congo, Central African Republic, Tanzania, and Zambia have been identified as Priority-2 countries. The prioritization includes both the countries capacity to manage EVD and viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) outbreaks, as well as their connections and proximity to the areas currently reporting EVD cases.
The Uganda Red Cross has been supporting government preparedness efforts, coordinated through the national and district level Task Forces. URCS works in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH), UNICEF, WFP, IFRC and other partners, building community resilience and institutional capacity to respond to a possible outbreak, to prevent the importation of EVD into Uganda, and to prepare for a possible outbreak.
In Uganda, the MoH announced 20 districts to be category 1 districts, which means they are at a high risk of cross border importation of EVD. The 20 districts are: Ntoroko, Kasese, Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Bunyangabu, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Rubirizi, Kikuube, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Isingiro, Buliisa, Hoima, Kagadi, Pakwach, Kampala, and Wakiso.
URCS EVD Preparedness operation targets 7 out of the 20 districts. The 7 districts are selected based on their proximity to the DRC border, and the URCS branch capacity in the districts.