World Renew's Response to Ebola Crisis

Operational Summary: 

World Renew is responding in partnership with the Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL) and the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL).

In Liberia, CHAL is training community health workers in the prevention of Ebola, in 18 health facilities of three counties, and hand washing sites have been set up. This has motivated more people to visit the health centres. Medications from the WHO List of Essential Medicines are being provided to people in the counties; including antibacterial, antiviral and fever reduction drugs. There are about 255 Ebola cases in the country.

Staff from the Governance Commission have been trained on how to prevent the spread of Ebola. Protective equipment is also being provided to hospitals, health centres and clinics. This includes sprayers, masks, face shields, protective suits, gloves and protective boots.

According to the Government of Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health, there are numerous challenges contributing to the ongoing outbreak, including inadequate understanding by most people of the Ebola virus, lack of experience among health care workers, and limited capacities for rapid response. There are about 576 Ebola cases in the country.

It is the lack of understanding of the virus that World Renew’s local partner in Sierra Leone, CCSL, will be addressing. They are working to raise awareness in the Ebola “hot spots” of the country. CCSL is educating communities with the key messages of how Ebola is spread, how to recognize the symptoms, what to do if you have the symptoms, how to prevent the transmission of Ebola, and the role of the whole community in dealing with Ebola. These key messages are also being adapted into the local languages of the affected areas. CCSL is also working closely with the leadership of Christian and Muslim communities and setting up Ebola Task Forces in each community to spread key messages and monitor suspected cases.

The Task Forces will also do management and prevention training with Primary Health Units, and will coordinate with the Ministry of Health to manage and prevent the spread of Ebola. Water containers with chlorine bleach will be provided together with education on how to prepare the mixture, and how to disinfect homes and personal belongings.

As of September 1, 2014, World Renew is working with local partner CES in Sierra Leone to reach 570 villages made up of 260,000 individuals for three months. The only district with no report of Ebola infection in Sierra Leone is Koinadugu. World Renew will work in this region as well as in Tonkolili district.

In the communities in which World Renew and CES are working, most families have fled into their farming sites. CES will sensitize the people on the causes, spread, and means of prevention for Ebola. Program staff will select and train community mobilizers to help further share these health messages in their community. They will work with the community leadership to introduce and enforce by-laws against the behaviors that increase the spread of Ebola.