29 DEC 2014
In March 2014, a rapidly evolving epidemic of Ebola haemorrhagic fever started in Guinea. The outbreak subsequently spread massively to Sierra Leone and Liberia. World Health Organisation declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 8 August.
As of 24 December, there have been 19,497 reported cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), with 7,588 reported deaths in three countries with widespread transmission. Sierra Leone has the highest total number of reported cases, 9,004 to date.
Oxfam is working in 6 countries, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau, to prevent the spread of Ebola both by improving access to water, cleaning equipment and protective clothing, and by talking with communities about Ebola and offering them support and information to try to prevent further infections.
So far our preventative work has directly reached more than 1 million people. We have also indirectly reached more than 2.3 million people via our radio jingles, TV shows, educational posters and CDs so that they better understand the virus, know how they can protect themselves and what they should do if they start showing symptoms so that the infection can be better contained.
In Sierra Leone and Liberia where there is large scale of outbreaks, Oxfam’s works focus on the following areas:
- Rehabilitation and construction of water and sanitation facilities at clinics, schools and community level Ebola treatment centres, for example, 108 hand washing stations set up in Sierra Leone
- More than 2,100 community health workers were trained with the knowledge of symptoms and prevention of Ebola, management of the sick and late referral, as well as handling of dead bodies
- The trained community health workers make repeat door-to-door calls and educate families on how to protect themselves from Ebola and what to do if somebody catches the virus. Together they are reaching more than 500,000 people.
- Ebola prevention and hygiene kits were provided to more than 13,500 vulnerable households
- Radio jingles and TV drama that highlight the symptoms and prevention of Ebola and the importance of early treatment in four languages were developed