The Ebola outbreak in the Bikoro zone de santé of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) underscores starkly the importance of the Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa Programme (TDDAP). The outbreak shares many of the characteristics that TDDAP seeks to address:
- Poor disease surveillance and communication from remote locations to national authorities;
- Weak public health services and infrastructure;
- Rumours and poor information affecting behaviours that then spread the disease;
- Poorly equipped, though dedicated doctors, nurses and public health staff;
- Poor cross-border coordination that leads to the spread of Ebola to large cities; and
- Weak national government presence and fragile economic conditions in outbreak areas.
The outbreak demonstrates the need for a coordinated and collaborative response from international, regional, national and local organisations and agencies. The latest information indicates that WHO headquarters and WHO AFRO have mobilised quickly upon being informed of confirmed cases by the DRC Ministry of Health (MOH). The UK government and the Wellcome Trust have rapidly disbursed funding for field-level support and other donors have pledged support. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Red Cross have mobilised staff and resources. At the local level, the Congolese have deployed staff to remote outbreak areas and have initiated contact tracing, vaccination and treatment.