Operational coordination of an Ebola vaccination campaign, DRC

Operational coordination of a research project on the side effects of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, Democratic Republic Congo, Epicentre , Doctor Without Border Switzerland, July 2018.

Ebola virus disease is a highly infectious disease by contact and for which mortality is very important. There is no direct treatment until today. The only disease control strategy until 2015 is a control strategy using environmental methods. The need for coordination and the rigor required by this type of strategy makes the management of such a virus very difficult, especially when it reaches urban centers. EVD has an epidemic potential that can lead to international health emergencies including the 2014 West Africa epidemic that has caused several thousand deaths. This epidemic accelerated the research on treatments and vaccines and the first efficacy test of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccines immunizing against the Zaire strain of Ebola virus was carried out in 2015.

Our mission was to coordinate the implementation of the vaccine trial in all its aspects. Coordination with the scientific teams, the link with the Ministry of Health, with the teams in charge of the traditional control of the disease, until the internal coordination of the mission on the budgetary, logistic, security, biosafe and operational aspects. The mission took place in a particularly remote area of ​​the Congo. The management of the teams (more than 100 people) including their living conditions related to the Ebola risk but also to life and displacement in the jungle as well as ensuring the rigor of the test in this particularly remote area has been a permanent challenge.

The mission went perfectly with the production of reliable data, a good job with local people and a team life finally very pleasant.