Ebola update: Reaching Ground Zero

From our last Ebola update, it appears that more strides have been taken to nullify the spread of the disease.

Communities and large firms are now working together jointly to curb the virus spread. In Sierra Leone, a band of ebola survivors formed an association termed “The Rescue Team” – which primarily aimed at helping their fellow survivors piece back their lives again, in light of stigmatization, loss of family members and income that they are facing. They are now exploring ways of contributing to the

The “Rescue Team”, an association set up by Ebola survivors to help fellow survivors trying to put their lives back together again, is now exploring ways to contribute to the Ebola outbreak response in Sierra Leone. Founded by Sherrie Bangura, The Rescue Team has more than 90 members, many of which are young adults from the Port Loko District, a district which has been largely affected by the Ebola Virus.

Recently, The World Health Organisation and the World Food Programme realized that in order to reach zero cases in the affected countries of West Africa they must join forces. They have now combines logististics and formed a new partnership to not only reach zero cases but to also establish an alert and response infrastructure for future crises in the area.

According to Dr.Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, The partnership is aimed at increasing both agencies abilities to reach, monitor and respond to the needs of those touched by EVD. “It helps us deploy and maintain technical teams with expertise in infection prevention and control, epidemiology, and contact tracing, enabling dedicated health workers in the deep field to do their best work. The partnership is also a learning opportunity for the future, informing our capacities to launch joint operations during large scale emergencies.” She further stated.

The new joint operations approach will have combined their expertise in over 60 priority districts on the ground in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. With over 700 people deployed in the affected countries to assist in disease control, WHO employees will receive resources such as computer equipment, internet connectivity and phones from WFP to share critical information in stopping the virus. When it comes to transport, WFP manages their fleet of vehicles that take WHO social anthropologists and epidemiologists to isolated rural areas where the disease claimed many lives.

Although confirmed cases went down from last year, they are still at alarming numbers. Last week, a total of 166 new confirmed cases were reported (with Guinea and Sierra Leone reported 58 new confirmed cases each) in comparison to 132 the week before. In Liberia, it has been 14 days since any confirmed cases were reported. However, in the four days to March 5th 90 suspected cases of Ebola were confirmed, although they were all tested negative for Ebola.