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Everyone can do something to help fight Ebola in DRC

Avatar Pona Bana
Member since January 15, 2014
  • 68 Posts

One of the awareness posters that can be seen in the streets of Mbandaka (© UNICEF DRC)

One of the awareness posters that can be seen in the streets of Mbandaka (© UNICEF DRC)

My name is Simplice, I am 18 years old and I live in Mbandaka, capital of the Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I'm here today to talk about something that has disrupted our daily life: EBOLA.

Since May 8, 2018, we are facing an Ebola outbreak. When I heard the news on the radio around 6 pm that day, I felt hijacked. I was scared because it's was happening right next to Mbandaka... There's only about a hundred kilometers between my house and Bikoro, the epicenter of the epidemic.

It was not the first time I heard about Ebola. Already in 2014, 'Ebola' was in everyone's mind: an outbreak had been declared in the territory of Boende, located about 600 kilometers from Mbandaka. I had questioned my father a bit, but since it was far away, I was not too interested in the situation. So that famous May 8, I did not really know what Ebola was.

Ebola has taken us all by surprise! Fortunately, I quickly met a doctor who told me all there was to know about Ebola: modes of transmission, symptoms, treatment, vaccination and especially the prevention methods. Avoiding Ebola is possible by adopting simple gestures!

I do not understand why everyone has not yet adopted these gestures: I still see too many people greeting each other with the hand, hugging on motorcycles or not washing their hands ... But these are easy gestures that can save lives. 25 deaths have already been reported and I think it's way too much.

A few years ago, I was trained as a Child Reporter, so I decided to take action. I started to educate people to adopt all prevention practices. Strangely, some people I meet refuse to talk about the disease, because "when we talk about Ebola, Ebola comes". Superstitions have a hard tooth sometimes !

Raising awareness in the street, in schools and public places is good. But I think we need to be much more focused on radio outreach. It's a channel for everyone! When we do door-to-door outreach, for example, we can not reach everyone, we will have to target a street, a neighborhood or a zone ... On the radio, no matter where people are, they can hear our messages. Of course, in some remote areas, people do not have access to radio. We must then mobilize to access the information anyway.

Everyone can do something to help fight Ebola. If each person talks about prevention methods to another person, and that person sensitizes another person in turn, everyone will know what to do!

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