Summary of current regional containment activities
Regional preparedness and coordination
In terms of regional coordination, the 9th,10th and 11th outbreak operations have been coordinated and given strategic, technical, financial, and operational support and direction through the IFRC Africa Regional Office in Nairobi. COVID19 travel restrictions continued throughout the summer with a gradual reopening of the targeted countries’ borders during July and August allowing the resumption of the activities under the ‘new normal’ imposed by COVID-19 measures. During this reporting period, the Regional Office has continued supporting the operations in DRC and Priority 1 countries (Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan) in the planning, integration and operationalization of preparedness and response activities for COVID-19 in the EVD program, as well as planning and preparation to resume and complete the planned EVD activities. This has been achieved by taking in consideration the ‘new normal’; to give an example, the year-long Lessons Learnt Review (LLR) which deep-dived into the IFRC experience working with and working for DRC Red Cross to combat EVD throughout the 9th and 10th outbreaks was completed and a webinar will be organized replacing an in-person workshop. This webinar aims at discussing the recommendations for Operations and Health managers handling similar elements in future epidemic responses. The results of this LLR webinars will be used to inform the management and guide IFRC decision-makers and operational teams responding to future EVD and other outbreaks across the African continent and globally.
Highlights of the coordination and support activities include:
▪ Provided strategic, technical, financial and operational support and direction to CAR (Central African Republic) and Republic of Congo (RoC) through the East Africa Country Cluster office in Nairobi and Central Africa Cluster
(Yaoundé) in driving two coordinated EVD preparedness DREF interventions amongst IFRC and Movement partners including for the 11th Outbreak.
▪ Maintenance of an agile and light Ebola support structure and team at the IFRC Africa Regional Office and different strategic locations.
▪ Ensure smooth functioning and availability of regional surge members (rapid response personnel) to support multi-country response coordination and country-specific preparedness activities
▪ Update Regional EVD Contingency Plan
▪ Review and harmonization of training packages, operational guidelines, guidance for NSs and Standard Operating Procedures on SDB and RCCE
▪ Establishment of an Information Management (IM) platform for the regional containment strategy to enhance coordination between operations and support external communications
▪ Cross-border information sharing, cross-border SDB experience sharing, lessons learned, and data analysed from the feedback system in DRC
▪ Development of tools including the IM toolkit for SDB and SDB training materials
▪ Support P1 countries to adjust and reorient some activities to respond to the outbreaks of COVID-19 in their respective countries, including the redevelopment of work plans and budgets, according to restrictions and lockdowns measures established by national governments.
▪ Coordination of the response to the 11th outbreak in Equateur through coordination with Africa regional DCPRR unit including global surge mechanisms on human resources; support to the Operations team in Goma and information management activities as well as support of preparedness activities in RoC given the high risk of spillover.
▪ Recruitment of regional level staff to support in planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the EVD operation, human resources, and other sectors like programs, logistic etc.
▪ Technical support to community feedback mechanisms. Feedback data, which are coded in DRC and analysed, are visualized and shared among partners and responders through an online excel dashboard with more granular data by health area. This data is used weekly for the RCCE activities, including training of volunteers on its use.
▪ Facilitation of cross-programmatic coordination between COVID-19 and EVD responses in all five countries.
▪ Facilitation of logistical support as needed for international procurements and provision of back up logistics.