Who’s Priorities? Reflections from Ebola and Covid Contexts in DRC



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  • Lessons learned from working in the Ebola context and the COVID context in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – Key considerations when we are evaluating programs to look at sustainability and equity.
  • 7 pillars in an MSF outbreak response – the number one step: discussing and engaging with community (we need to make sure that the community is implicated and have all the necessary information before moving on to the next pillars of outbreak response).
  • We need to ask: What are the priorities of the people and communities we are designing and setting up interventions for?  And then ask: Do you want our help in responding to those priorities?  In the case of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, we learned that Ebola was not the main priority of the communities at the time.  The priorities were building wells and having access to clean water.  Similarly with COVID, there were different priorities in the community at the time.
  • Example of community-driven Ebola isolation centres set up in people’s own communities. This made a huge different because people had ownership in these isolation centres – people actually went to the centres and the outbreaks stopped.
  • We will never have sustainability if we don’t have pertinent programming.  And pertinent programming only comes from responding to priorities.  And we will never know the priorities if we don’t engage with the community.