Our work on the ground


Our work on the ground

World Vision is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to contain the highly contagious Ebola virus. Here are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions:
According to the World Health Organisation, the Ebola virus disease is
a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates.
The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals (such as fruit bats, porcupines and non-human primates) and then spreads in the human population through direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
The average Ebola case fatality rate is around 50 percent. Case fatality rates have varied from 25 percent to 90 percent in past outbreaks.

The current Ebola crisis has claimed 2000 lives (see graph below) and has largely been contained to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some cases have emerged in Goma, a major border city with Rwanda, as well as in neighbouring Uganda. 


The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa claimed over 11,000 lives. The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Some cases were reported in Europe and the United States.

Every year, 70,000 Australians travel to Africa. One person returning to Australia with the virus is all it would take for it to spread here.  Australia needs to step up our global contribution to #EndEbola. This is a global health issue – not just a problem for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The world is safer if we do our fair share to help affected countries like the DR Congo control the outbreak.


World Vision's base of operations to end Ebola is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), in central Africa. It is the second-largest country in Africa and has a population of over 85 million people.

The outbreak adds to the country’s debilitating violence, political instability and mass displacement. 13 million people already need humanitarian aid – more than half of those are children.

The size of DR Congo in comparison to Australia

DRC compared to Australia

World Vision operates in the following Health Zones in the North Kivu provinces of:

  • Goma
  • Beni
  • Butembo
  • Katwa
  • Oicha
  • Katwa
  • Masareka Kalunguta
  • Vuhovi
  • Lubero
  • Magurudjipa
  • Rutshuru
  • Mabalako

World Vision focuses on community engagement in the affected Health Zones in the following ways: 

  • We educate people on protecting communities and containing the spread through religious and community leaders.
  • We provide psychosocial support to help families, including children, affected by the disease
  • We put prevention measures in place in schools to create a protective environment
  • We make water, hygiene and sanitation available in communities, schools and health centres
  • We respond to pre-exisiting vulnerabilities that actively contribute to the spread
  • As the epidemic continues, we coordinate our efforts with our partners to ensure the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of children

World Vision has made the following impact since the emergency was declared a year ago:

  • 401,424 people reached with life-saving humanitarian assistance, including 144,513 children
  • 27,085 members of the community reached including 4,063 children by training and supporting Hope Action Teams to create community awareness events
  • 10,515 hygiene kits distributed to families
  • 865 public handwashing kits delivered to markets, schools, churches and mosques
  • 492 teachers trained on prevention and vaccination
  • 488 health personnel and community workers trained
  • 326 religious leaders trained to engage their communities with life-saving risk communication and to build trust
  • 5 radio channels broadcast multiple programs by trained religious leaders talking about Ebola transmission, prevention and treatment reaching about 250,000 people


(As per World Vision International EBOLA CRISIS SITUATION REPORT | 2 August 2018 - 13 August 2019)

World Vision works with village chiefs, women and faith leaders - both Christian and Muslim – because they are trusted by their congregations and communities. This was the approach that ended Ebola three years ago in West Africa.

Body bags are an essential part of this work. The risk of Ebola transmission after death is extremely high. We’ve worked with local leaders to adapt the burial ceremony so the dead can be buried safely but crucially, with dignity.

It’s always extremely difficult to get cut through on messages relating to Africa, as it’s far away and not ‘on the radar’ for many. But for there to be any hope of raising money on this critical Ebola emergency – the world’s 2nd biggest outbreak – we must use innovative communications to reach the wider Australian public and decision-makers in Canberra. 

In this context, the body bag is a powerful symbol. 

A body bag is confronting, and emotional. As is the other key item on the catalogue: the hazmat suit.

To include these items in a catalogue is certainly provocative. 

It is hoped and intended that the catalogue generates discussion, on social media, on television, on radio. However its important to remember these are all genuine tools used to keep people safe from Ebola. 

It is because human life is sacred that we are featuring a body bag in this campaign.

Stories from Ebola Ground Zero

Family with handwashing station to prevent Ebola

Grace and her two young boys with their handwashing station.

“We were so scared,” says Grace, a mother of two young boys in the DR Congo. Grace’s neighbour died of Ebola and if not for the information and hygiene kits provided by World Vision, she might have lost her family too.

World Vision is on the ground in the DR Congo raising awareness and clarifying concerns about the deadly disease. According to World Vision staff member Jules Lobho, one of the biggest challenges is getting the community to accept the life-threatening dangers of the disease.

To tackle this, World Vision works to raise awareness through community leaders, including faith leaders, teachers and healthcare staff.

Raising awareness on Ebola World Vision

Jules is raising awareness on Ebola in the community.

“We work closely with religious leaders,” he says. “We train them so they can go back to their communities and places of worship and raise awareness on Ebola. They have a big following and are very important in our strategy on how to reach the community.”

Traditional burial rituals and practices have been modified.  Only specially trained personnel issued with protective clothing should conduct burials. Loved ones are also advised to keep themselves at a safe distance from the deceased.

Providing the opportunity for safe and dignified burials maintains respect for cultural traditions as well as providing comfort for the bereaved.


As I interview survivors, I'm conscious I'm at risk but as much as it terrifies me, I came here because I know these stories need to be told - the Australian Public isn't hearing them.
- Brianna Piazza, World Vision Emergency Communications Specialist

Ebola Update - July 2019


Thank you for joining World Vision's efforts to stop the Ebola virus

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