News on Ebola

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...
Condoms are critical for preventing sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and – in Ebola-affected countries like Liberia – the Ebola virus. © UNFPA/Nordic Office
1 July 2015 Ebola prompts efforts to boost condom use in Liberia
The Ebola epidemic has dramatically underscored the importance of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections. UNFPA and partners have launched a campaign in Liberia aiming to reach 1.5 million people with...

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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

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
Ebola Situation Report 03 Nov 2014
UNFPA estimates that in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, more than 800,000 women will give birth in the next 12 months. Without life-saving emergency obstetric care, more than 120,000 could face a complication that...
Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in West Africa - October 2014 update
The infographic shows UNFPA's response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak in West Africa

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