West Africa: CRS Programming Expands As Ebola Crisis Continues

By Rebekah Kates Lemke

OCPH, a CRS partner, distributes hygiene materials to villagers in Guinea.  CRS has offered training and support of community volunteers and religious leaders, including household visits, radio programs and hygiene kits.  Photo courtesy of Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine (OCPH)

OCPH, a CRS partner, distributes hygiene materials to villagers in Guinea. CRS has offered training and support of community volunteers and religious leaders, including household visits, radio programs and hygiene kits. Photo courtesy of Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine (OCPH)

CRS programming will be increased in the West African countries hit hardest by Ebola as the disease continues to spread.

In March, an outbreak of Ebola was confirmed in the forest region of Guinea. It spread into Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

The World Health Organization has declared Ebola a public heath emergency of international concern.

Liberia and Sierra Leone have declared States of Emergency. Measures include placing all non-essential government staff on 30-day compulsory leave, closing schools, quarantining heavily infected communities, banning public gatherings (except Ebola education) and increasing surveillance at airports.

donate-nowNigeria has declared the control and containment of Ebola a National Emergency. The National Emergency Agency was deployed and nearly $12 million has been allocated to the response.

Ebola transmission is continuing in many parts of Guinea, and is accelerating in Liberia, with cases more than doubling in the 16-day period from July 23 to Aug. 9.

Br. Patrick Nshamdze, the Director of Catholic Hospital in Liberia and CRS Liberia’s direct point of contact in the personal protective equipment distribution to the Catholic Hospital and the health center located in the same compound, died of Ebola on August 2.

The spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone also continues. Cases continue to rise steadily in Kailahun and Kenema (epicenters) with up to 15 new cases identified in Kenema district daily. Bo district and Port Loko district appear to be newly emerging hot spots and require further attention and resources.

Following the arrival in late July of a Liberian national who was suffering from Ebola, there have been an additional 12 cases of Ebola in Nigeria, including one additional death. All cases to date have been among primary contacts, health care workers or airport personnel. No new cases have been reported since the first week of August.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) have announced the deployment of a disaster assistance response team to the affected countries. Through the use of additional private funds, CRS programming in affected countries will be scaled up. CRS has allocated an additional $376,444 to prevention, preparedness and management activities in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana. Key activities include training and support of community volunteers and religious leaders, household visits, radio programs and hygiene kits. In addition, CRS will support the production of awareness and prevention information for dissemination by the Ghanaian Ministry of Health.

Every country in the West Africa region has appointed a country Ebola point person. Key resources regarding Ebola have been shared. Staff awareness meetings were held during the first half of August in Benin and Ghana.

Comments

  1. Eileen Cosco says:

    I have heard that because whole towns have be quarantined people are unable to farm or go out to purchase food. What is CRS doing to help feed these townspeople?

    • Edward Hoyt says:

      Hi, Ellen,

      Thank you for your message. Quarantines are keeping people out of fields and out of markets, but the church is responding to the crisis and will continue to do so. I would refer you to the last five paragraphs of this article to learn more. Continue to watch this space, as programming is expanding.

  2. Mimic Florence Nightingale’s approach and you will cntain the Ebola transmission.
    It’s always the same answer to the differing problems and that is, honor the sacred reality of the fundamental principles of health and nursing then the medical model will not be needed, and if it is needed, at a much more limited fashion. Can you teach mature women in the community a certified nurse assistant certification course and then she can teach the women, men and children. I honestly think we need to honor life byhonoring the fundamentals of health. Then we will achieve health and combat illness but there will be no glory, no drama, no hero because the care is unseen and therefore not beleived. Kindly consider what I am writing.

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