29. January 2020 | Press releases:

Protection against Ebola Fever through New Isolation Wards TU Braunschweig supports immediate measures to prevent infection in Rwanda

The ongoing Ebola virus epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest ever recorded. Rwanda, as its eastern neighbour, is classified as a high-risk country by the World Health Organization (WHO). Early isolation of suspected cases of Ebola fever is crucial for the protection of medical personnel. Good structural hygiene management is of central importance here. The Institut für Industriebau und Konstruktives Entwerfen (IIKE) of the Technische Universität Braunschweig supports a project of the German government that is developing immediate measures for the prevention of structural infection.

According to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been over 3,300 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola fever in Congo since July 2018. More than 2,200 people have died of Ebola fever. The risk of the outbreak spreading at national and regional level is considered very high by the WHO. The regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo affected by Ebola fever are located in the border region with Rwanda and Uganda. In order to develop immediate measures to prevent infection, the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) is funding the “EFFO-HCF” project to strengthen hygiene management in health facilities in high-risk areas in Rwanda, in which the Institute of Industrial Construction and Constructive Design (IIKE) headed by Dr. Wolfgang Sunder is participating.

Dr. Sunder and his team evaluate and develop structural measures for infection prevention and assist in the planning and construction of isolation wards in selected local hospitals. This includes, among other things, defining the optimal location on the respective hospital premises, the use of local building materials and the choice of optimal materials.

In addition to the exchange of knowledge between German and Rwandan partners, the aim of “EFFO-HCF” is the risk assessment of five endangered health facilities, the secure accommodation of possible Ebola fever patients and the training of clinic staff in hygiene management in the prioritised health facilities.

Medical facilities in which highly pathogenic pathogens can spread due to inadequate hygiene management pose a danger to both patients and staff. Particularly in low and middle-income countries, however, health systems are often not in a position to ensure basic hygiene standards and, in the event of an epidemic, to manage the necessary measures on their own, which makes expensive and often delayed international interventions necessary.

Project data:

EFFO-HCF is funded by the BMG with about 400.000 Euro from August 2019 to June 2020. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is responsible for project coordination. Besides the TU Braunschweig, the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health at the Charité Berlin and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) in Rwanda are partners in the project.