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Thousands receive life-saving information on Ebola
London, 4 August 2014
Monitoring the wellbeing of those closest to Ebola patients is crucial to stemming its spread, as patients make contact with an average of 50 people, says Action Against Hunger.
The often fatal virus has killed more than 700 people in Guinea Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the organisation has been present for many years.
Since May, we have been working with the relevant authorities in all three countries to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of infection, letting people know what they should do if they think a friend or loved one may have contracted Ebola. Our teams have also been monitoring those closest to victims.
“Each case makes contact with an average of 50 people, so you cannot leave anything to chance,” explained Mireine Maniriho, Action Against Hunger’s country director in Liberia.
“Around Monrovia (Liberia's capital), there are 70 people who go door to door to monitor [cases]. This monitoring is especially important when we have seen more than 1,200 cases of Ebola since the beginning of the epidemic.“
More than 43,000 people in ebola-affected communities of West Africa have received potentially life-saving training from Action Against Hunger.
In Sierra Leone’s east Freetown and Moyamba, for example, 1,800 community and health workers have been taught how to spot the early signs of the disease and to raise public awareness. When community workers have also been trained, they then take over these sessions.
"This is the first time that the virus has been present in West Africa at this scale and the rapid speed with which it’s spreading is extremely worrying," said Sasha Ekanayake, Action Against Hunger’s country director in Sierra Leone.
"These training and awareness sessions, and the monitoring of victims is paramount, in parallel with medical operations being carried out by other humanitarian actors."