This brief summarises key socio-anthropological considerations regarding ‘indigenous communities’ in the context of the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC, June 2018. Further participatory enquiry should be undertaken with the affected population, but given ongoing transmission, conveying key considerations for the response and immediate recommendations related to engaging communities in Équateur Province have been prioritised.
This brief is based on a rapid review of existing published and grey literature, professional ethnographic research with Twa and Mongo communities, personal communication with administrative and health officials in the country, and experience of previous Ebola outbreaks. In shaping this brief, informal discussions were held with colleagues from UNICEF, WHO, IFRC and the GOARN Social Science Group. Input was also given by expert advisers from the CNRS-MNHN Paris, Institut Pasteur, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Réseau Anthropologie des Epidémies Emergentes, University of Florida, Tufts University, University of Wisconsin, Institute of Development Studies, Anthrologica and others. The brief was written by Romain Duda (Musée de l’Homme, CNRS-MNHN, who at the time of writing was deployed to the DRC by ALIMA, the Alliance for International Medical Action) and Lys Alcayna-Stevens (Institut Pasteur) with support from Juliet Bedford (Anthrologica). The brief is the responsibility of the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform.