Six months on: Closer to zero

Six months on from the launch of the DEC Ebola crisis appeal and member agencies are still working hard to contain and prevent the disease across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

DEC-funded training of community members has meant 840,000 are now more aware of the Ebola risk and precautions they should take, more than 65,000 have essential relief supplies and more than 17,000 people received food.

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said:

“The UK Public has given an extraordinary £37 million to the Ebola crisis appeal. Their money is helping make great strides forward, providing for people’s immediate humanitarian needs and preventing Ebola from spreading further. Working with local community volunteers to raise awareness and identify cases has proven to be particularly effective. People are much more likely to come forward for testing if they know and trust the health workers in their own community.”

Although the number of cases detected each week has greatly reduced since the peak of the crisis, the decline in confirmed cases halted in April. In the week to 19 April, 33 confirmed cases were reported, compared with 37 and 30 in the preceding weeks.

Guinea is battling the majority of the cases, with 21 confirmed cases in the week to 19 April. In the same week Sierra Leone reported 12 confirmed cases. Liberia has reported no cases and the last known death was at the end of March.

Almost 10,700 people have died as a result of the unprecedented disease but the work of brave volunteers, local organisations, governments and aid agencies has brought the target of zero cases much closer.

The decrease in cases has not slowed DEC agency efforts. For example while there was a notable decrease in the number of families living in quarantine in March, Concern continues to provide 966 quarantined households with clean water. The project is helping affected families adhere to quarantine protocols.

Oxfam's thousands of community volunteers across Liberia and Sierra Leone continue to promote ways to stay safe, encouraging people who may be infected to seek early treatment that could save their lives.

CARE is continuing to distribute essential hygiene kits – including wash bucket, gloves, bleach, soap and hand sanitiser – to help families protect themselves against the disease.

In the first phase of the emergency response DEC funds helped our members to:

  • train more than 4,100 community health workers, social mobilisers and faith leaders. This network has reached more than 840,000 people across Sierra Leone and Liberia with information
  • reach 32,000 people with information on the importance of safe burial practices and train 200 people on safe burial practices.
  • support 150 orphans resettle with extended families and provide them with essentials such as clothing, sandals, beddings, toiletries and food
  • provide education and school materials for 5,064 children in Liberia while schools are closed
  • provide food to almost 17,000 people in quarantine or following treatment
  • deliver equipment, such as incinerators for safe waste disposal, to 16 health facilities
  • ensure more than 12,500 people get psychosocial support
  • distribute essential relief items and hygiene kits to more than 65,000 people.