Ebola crisis update from Sierra Leone | ActionAid UK

Mohamed Sillah

Executive Director, ActionAid Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is in the grip of the worst Ebola outbreak in history. The whole country has been in a state of public emergency since the end of July. Our Exective Director in Sierra Leone reports back on how we're helping stop the spread.

ActionAid facilitator Hawa conducts an Ebola awareness session in Bo district, Sierra Leone
ActionAid facilitator Hawa conducts an Ebola awareness session in Bo district, Sierra Leone

Greetings from Sierra Leone. I write to update you on the Ebola situation here and our response so far.

Emergency alert closes schools indefinitely

The current State of Public Health Emergency imposes restrictions on all gatherings not related to the fight against Ebola, as the disease is spread by contact with body fluids of an infected person. This means that all our schools are closed indefinitely and community groups are unable to meet.

Initially the public emergency act was planned to end on 31st October 2014. However, looking at the scale of the current crisis we think it could be extended until at least 31st December 2014.

Ebola disrupts lives

There has been complete disruption to the livelihoods of the poor people in the communities we work in. All the areas we work in have reported cases of people infected with Ebola. Children who have lost their parents are particularly affected. As of 20th October there were over 1,700 Ebola cases reported in the districts we work in. (Bo -153, Bombali – 441, Kambia-26, Kono- 24, Moyamba-85, Tonkolili – 150 and Western Area – 851)

Two of our operational districts (Bombali and Moyamba) have been isolated due to high numbers of infections and the movement of people within some chiefdoms and outside of these areas is restricted.

What are we doing to stop the spread in communities?

We’re working with families and communities to help them survive the epidemic by:

  • providing food support and hygiene supplies to quarantined families.
  • continuing to deliver education to people on the symptoms of the virus and how to take measures to avoid being infected.

How are we helping the medical response to the Ebola outbreak?

We have supplied disinfectant, soaps and protective clothing to the District Health Management Teams and Ebola emergency coordination units in all our operational districts to support the isolation and treatment centres to contain the spread of the virus. An isolation centre is where suspected cases are held until their results are out and treatment centres are where infected victims are cared for.

We also provided logistical support (fuel) to Ebola emergency coordination units in their day to day co ordination.

How can you help stop the spread?

We’re doing everything we can to stop the Ebola virus in its tracks. You can help by donating to our Ebola Crisis Appeal. Together we can reach more people and save lives.

  • £25 will pay for cleaning and disinfectant materials
  • £50 will buy three sets of personal protective equipment for the most exposed health workers
  • £125 will provide medical lab supplies for an Ebola care unit for one month