MSF, an international medical organisation that has been stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for more than 30 years, will be sending doctors, nurses, logistics experts and hygiene specialists to the epicenter of the outbreak.
“We received confirmation on Sunday that four of the samples our team took last week have tested positive for Ebola virus. We are responding fast to try to isolate the suspect and confirmed patients and to start the work of contact tracing.” said Jeroen Beijnberger, medical coordinator in DRC for the MSF.
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Along with the Congolese Ministry of Health, the MSF is currently setting up an Ebola management centre in Lokolia, a region most affected by the outbreak in the Boende health zone.
“Our key objective for now is to do all we can to stop the outbreak spreading and to protect other people from catching the virus,” added Beijnberger.
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The MSF have not yet found a link to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and for now believe that it is an unfortunate coincidence.
“We are trying to confirm the origin of the outbreak, but at this time nothing points to a direct link with the epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,”
The MSF said that the first phase of its response plan is to protect patient and health workers as well as ensure that the DRC’s government, community leaders and village chiefs are able to accurately inform the population about the virus as well as to equip burial teams with the proper infection control measures.
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The MSF is facing challenges of limited capacity as the majority of its specialists are currently responding to the massive outbreak in West Africa.
“We need other organisations to step up and join efforts to support the Ministry of Health- we will not be able to do this one alone.”