In West Africa, the Ebola virus disease continues to devastate communities. More than 24,000 cases have been reported and over 9,800 have died.
While Liberia has recorded no new positive cases during March so far, Guinea and Sierra Leone continue to report new cases each week. On a more positive note, all three countries now have sufficient capacity to isolate and treat patients.
The United Nations’ plan to end the Ebola epidemic began on 1 October and aimed to have 100% of Ebola cases isolated and treated and 100% of burials conducted safely and with dignity by the 1st of January. While there has been progress, the plan has not yet been successful because of the uneven geographical distribution of treatment centres and under-reporting of cases.
What Oxfam is doing
Preventing the spread
Oxfam’s response to Ebola currently focuses on supporting communities to prevent the spread of infection, as well as providing medical facilities with water, sanitation, cleaning equipment and protective clothing.
With a budget of $35 million to cover initiatives in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Senegal, Oxfam aims to help over 3.2 million people at risk of catching the disease. To date, we have supported more than 1.1 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Active case finding
In Liberia, Oxfam currently works with community health workers to carry out ‘active case finding’. This involves seeking out individuals who are showing Ebola symptoms and ensuring that they are isolated immediately and referred for treatment. In Sierra Leone, we are supporting community health committees to identify and address barriers to controlling the spread of Ebola.
In both Sierra Leone and Liberia, Oxfam supplies water, sanitation and hygiene materials to Ebola treatment centres and community care centres. In other countries – including Guinea Bissau, Gambia and Senegal – Oxfam and its partners have launched programmes to disseminate educational messages surrounding Ebola through posters, SMS and door-to-door outreach.
See the latest update on our work in West Africa.
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