FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (November 10, 2015) – With no new reported cases of Ebola since the 27th of September, Sierra Leone has been officially declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) claimed the lives of 3,589 people in Sierra Leone.
‘’Of course a significant milestone has been reached, but Ebola has a history of resurfacing. Conscious efforts must be made by the Government and its partners to prevent its resurgence,’’ said Leslie Scott, World Vision’s National Director in Sierra Leone.
The aid and development agency’s community development model enabled it to educate and mobilize large groups of people to prevent the spread of Ebola. The communities World Vision worked with were among the first to be declared Ebola-free.
“Our inclusive faith-based approach was also key in achieving the 42-day Ebola-free milestone. We trained faith leaders from Christian and Muslim communities and local chiefs in Ebola prevention and control, who in turn, engaged their respective communities. These faith leaders helped change behaviors and attitudes concerning traditional burial practices and the need for hand washing,” said Scott.
“We would also like to recognize our key donors and partners, OFDA, DFID, USAID and Irish Aid for their tremendous contribution to the fight against Ebola. We owe this victory to God first, and to collaborative, sacrificial and collective work by government and its partners working in Sierra Leone,” he added.
The country is on the road to recovery but there are still major challenges ahead in post-Ebola Sierra Leone including a very fragile health system. World Vision continues to urge the Government of Sierra Leone and the international community to:
- Invest in health systems and structures
- Build the capacity of medical personnel. Sierra Leone lost its only virologist to Ebola as well as 221 other health workers.
- Ensure hospitals and health centers have essential equipment and supplies
- Continue social mobilization and health education throughout the country
- Develop a plan for the protection of children orphaned by the virus
- Be vigilant about the possible resurgence of Ebola
“At this time I’d like to congratulate all of those who made the victory over Ebola possible; our NGO partners, the Government of Sierra Leone, medical personnel, our community partners and, last but not least, our brave burial workers who put their lives on the line to prevent the further spread of the virus,” said Scott.
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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.
- Sierra Leone has been officially declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization