Ebola outbreak

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News on Ebola

Active conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is thwarting efforts to deliver life-saving sexual and reproductive health care to women and girls in need. © UNFPA Democratic Republic of the Congo
10 September 2018 New Ebola outbreak hits women and girls hardest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Women and girls account for roughly 60 per cent of Ebola victims. Over half of them are of reproductive age.
Midwifery students listen to a fetal heartbeat. A new generation of midwives will shore up reproductive health care in Ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone. © Olivia Acland, United Nations
19 June 2017 One year after Ebola’s end, Sierra Leone's midwives help mend health system
The horrific Ebola outbreak in West Africa came to an end one year ago. The crisis left over 3,900 Sierra Leoneans dead and health systems in disarray – yet the true toll of the epidemic has been even higher.
Volunteer James S. Yangbie leads a discussion at the health club he started at Kaytoken Junior High. Talented youth volunteers are meeting reproductive health needs in Liberia, where conflict and the Ebola epidemic had left the health system shattered. © UNFPA/Ruth Fertig
1 July 2016 Young volunteers meet critical reproductive health needs in Liberia
Jackie knows about heartbreak. She became pregnant in the ninth grade and was forced to leave school. Then, when her baby was nearly two years old, she suddenly fell sick. “I took her to the clinic. But when I came back...

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Overview

A new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 1 August 2018. Declared in North Kivu, one of the country’s most densely populated provinces, the current outbreak is the tenth to strike the country, but the first to occur in an active conflict zone.

Over 100 people have been infected within the past month, and 61 have died. Women and girls have been hit hardest, accounting for 58 per cent of the infected. As traditional caretakers for the sick, women are often at increased risk of exposure.

But Ebola's impact goes beyond those infected. Strained health systems have left many without access to life-saving services, including sexual and reproductive health care. Instability in the region is also impeding response efforts, presenting considerable risk to humanitarian teams mobilizing to stem the epidemic.

UNFPA is working with partners to prevent the spread of Ebola virus disease and ensure that sexual and reproductive health services remain available. Already, UNFPA has provided critical supplies – including 10,000 vaccination syringes – to strengthen control measures and fortify water, sanitation and hygiene services in health facilities and communities. UNFPA is also helping midwives exercise precaution when tending to mothers and their newborns.

Still, much remains to be done. During humanitarian emergencies, sexual and reproductive health needs can be overlooked – with staggering consequences. Pregnant women risk life-threatening complications in the absence of care, while women and young people become increasingly vulnerable to sexual violence and HIV infection.

A comprehensive response to the Ebola epidemic will include outreach that provides communities with essential information for preventing and controlling the disease. Meanwhile, UNFPA will continue to deliver life-saving health services to ensure women and young people are not left behind during this crisis.

Situation reports and resources

1000s of lives saved during Ebola outbreak
The unprecedented 2014 Ebola virus disease outbreak captured the world’s attention. The international community, led by the UN, demonstrated its capacity to respond effectively and efficiently. The UN and its partners...
Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in West Africa - January 2015 update
This infographic shows UNFPA's response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak in West Africa
Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in West Africa - November 2014 update
This infographic shows UNFPA's response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak in West Africa

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