Since the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa was first detected in March 2014 in Guinea, according to World Health Organisation, a total of 13,703 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of EVD have been reported in six affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America) and two previously affected countries (Nigeria and Senegal) up to the end of 27 October. There have been 4,922 deaths.
The outbreaks of EVD in Senegal and Nigeria were declared over on 17 October and 19 October 2014, respectively. Today (31st October) marks the half way point in the UN’s Ebola response plan for West Africa which aims to bring the outbreak under control by the end of November.
Oxfam is working in West Africa 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 almost half a million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone. 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, Oxfam is:
- Providing water and sanitation services and protective clothing to 19 health facilities in Freetown, Koinadugu, Rakupa and Laka.
- Providing and repairing water, sanitation and solid waste systems at 3 health facilities and two public health units (PHUs).
- Providing protective equipment and clothing to teams following up on suspected cases in Freetown and Koinadugu so they can safely bring infected people to get treatment.
- Providing equipment and support to burial teams.
- Training more than 500 community health workers to 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 280,000 people.
- Set up 108 hand washing stations in Freetown and Koinadugu.
- Producing radio jingles, TV shows and posters that are reaching an additional 1.5 million people with essential information on how to prevent catching Ebola.
In Liberia, Oxfam is:
- Providing two medical facilities in Monrovia with sanitation system support.
- Training more than 500 community health workers to make door-to-door calls in Monserrado County. They are letting families know what they can do to avoid contracting Ebola and what to do if somebody catches the virus. Together they have reached more than 93,450 people.
- In Monrovia, we are providing 6,500 hygiene kits that will protect 45,500 people.
- In rural areas of Grand Gedeh and River Gee, 1,200 families have received prevention information and hygiene kits.
- 2,500 people have received prevention information.