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Social Science in Humanitarian Action Key considerations: Ebola preparedness and readiness in Goma, DRC

RD del Congo
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This brief summarises key considerations about the social, political and economic context of Goma in relation to the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC as of March 2019. Goma is the administrative capital of North Kivu province and a major urban centre in the Great Lakes Region.

The city is home to an estimated 1.5 million people and serves as an important economic and transportation hub that links eastern Congo to the broader East African sub-region. The arrival of Ebola in Goma would substantially increase the at-risk population and heighten the potential for cross-border transmission to neighbouring countries, particularly Rwanda. This brief therefore focuses on local social and political structures that can be leveraged to promote preparedness and readiness actions.

The brief is based on a rapid review of existing published and grey literature, personal communication with administrative and health officials in Goma, and lessons learnt from previous Ebola outbreaks. The brief was developed by David Peyton (Northwestern University) with support from Ingrid Gercama and Juliet Bedford (Anthrologica).

Additional inputs were provided by Karen Büscher (Ghent University), Pat Stys (London School of Economics), Hugh Lamarque (University of Edinburgh), Martin Doevenspick (University of Bayreuth), Nene Morisho (Pole Institute), Kennedy Kihangi Bindu (Centre de Recherche sur la Démocratie et le Développement en Afrique), Jean-Benoït Falisse (University of Edinburgh), Rachel Sweet (Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies), Phuong Pham (Harvard Humanitarian Initiative) and colleagues from UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières and Translators without Borders. The brief is the responsibility of the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform. For further details on the issues contained in this brief and for contact details of associations and networks active in Goma, please contact Juliet Bedford (