Oxfam is working to prevent further infections and support medical facilities.
The Ebola crisis remains a global concern. 600 new Ebola cases were reported in the past week and almost 7,000 people have died from the virus to date.
Oxfam is on the ground in Sierra Leone and Liberia, providing equipment, water and sanitation for medical facilities, and working with communities to help stop the spread. We’re also raising awareness about Ebola and sharing prevention messages and hygiene kits in at risk countries including, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Senegal, and in Mali where there have been eight Ebola cases so far.
Oxfam is helping prevent the spread of Ebola both by working with communities to prevent further infections and supporting medical facilities with water, sanitation and hygiene equipment. Here’s what we’ve achieved so far:
- We’ve reached over one million people in Sierra Leone and Liberia with door-to-door health worker visits and hygiene kits.
- Distributed hygiene kits for 13,750 households in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Bissau. (these contain items such as: buckets for collecting water and a bucket with a tap for hand washing, water purification tablets, soap, sanitary towels).
- Trained 2,172 community health workers in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Gambia. They teach the community about the signs and symptoms of Ebola, how to prevent spread and what to do if someone in the family has symptoms of the disease.
- Promoted Ebola safety and awareness messages through radio, posters, TV, drama, and song. In Sierra Leone jingles were broadcast in four languages.
- Improved or provided water and sanitation facilities and/or hygiene equipment in 21 health units in Sierra Leone and Liberia
- In Sierra Leone we’ve also provided 650 personal protective equipment outfits for burial teams, and contact tracing workers, set up 108 hand washing stations and distributed 190 kits for quarantined families and survivors (including hygiene kit plus bedding, towels, and a mosquito net – these replace items which have been destroyed to prevent infection).
Stopping the fear
Thanks to the hard work of amazing Oxfam-trained volunteers, awareness and prevention of Ebola is improving, and fear is reducing. And what’s more, their work will stop other diseases spreading too.
The Ebola response and the UN
The UN’s plan to end the Ebola epidemic began on 1st October. Within 60 days they aimed to get over 70% of Ebola cases isolated and treated and 70% of the deceased safely buried. Although there has been progress the plan has not been met because not enough cases of Ebola are being caught early. In the meantime the number of Ebola cases has more than doubled in 60 days from 7,178 to 16,203.
More still needs to be done to stop the spread.
What needs to happen next?
Oxfam is calling for greater coordination of the response from governments, and the international community including:
- Increased prioritization and funding to help communities prevent and respond to Ebola cases.
- Improved coordination and sharing of response data.
- Improved roads, connectivity and infrastructure in Liberia so that people in rural areas can access treatment.
- More support for quarantined communities to ensure they have access to food, water and healthcare.
- For data to be gathered, to make sure the different needs of men and women are clear and can be properly addressed in the response.