Ebola is now a threat in eastern Congo.  It is a serious virus disease spread through direct contact with bodily fluids with an average mortality rate of 50% of those infected.

Ebola was first identified in 1996 with a simultaneous outbreak in South Sudan and in the northern DRC town of Yambuku, a village without electricity or running water.  The decision was made to name the disease after the Ebola River, 100 kilometers from Yambuku.  Apparently, they didn’t want to taint the name of Yambuku so the unfortunate small river is now tainted with the name.

The first line of defense against ebola is to ensure proper hygiene conditions that includes washing with soap and water.  Unfortunately, most public spaces don’t provide any access to these basic requirements.

We have provided funds for Saasita that will enable her to install eight water tanks and an initial supply of soap for various key locations including a hospital in Katwa (just east of Butembo), a primary school and the villages of Vushyani and Vuhenia.  She has been delivering the materials and providing training on the importance of hand washing.

Filling a water tankWashing handsEncouraging hand washing

The sign reads: All fight the disease Ebola.

Lets all fight ebola

Saasita delivers a water tank and some soap to health officials.

Giving soap and a tank to the health committee leadersTank set upAt Katwa, east of Butembo

She passes by a quarantine area.

Outside a quarintined area

During our visits, staying at locations which were considered luxurious by local standards, hand washing was communal and almost ceremonial. Soap and water was provided by an attendant before a meal would begin.

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