Action Against Hunger in Sierra Leone is continuing support to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) in the fight against Ebola at the national and district level, in Moyamba and Freetown-Western Area, with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
The national state of emergency was declared by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on July 31st. As of July 30, the MoHS has reported 500 confirmed cases and 167 confirmed deaths. At the moment 12 out of 14 districts in the country are regarded as affected including the two districts of Freetown and Moyamba where Action Against Hunger currently operates.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa, Action Against Hunger Sierra Leone has been supporting the MoHS in developing key messages and communication material to raise awareness on the signs and symptoms of the virus in the communities and with the health staff. Starting from May, Action Against Hunger was actively involved in the Ebola response integrating Ebola sensitization activities in the daily programme activities. So far in the 2 Districts Action Against Hunger has reached almost 30,000 people during community sensitization activities and addressing at risk groups in markets, lorry parks, schools, churches, mosques, etc..
Non-medical staff in the hospital in Moyamba were also trained to avoid further spreading of the virus disease. With the support of SIDA, Action Against Hunger has already trained more than 1,000 Community Health Workers and more than 400 health staff on how to detect and refer suspected Ebola patients. All the activities currently being implemented are conducted in close collaboration with the District Health Management Teams (DHMT)and the MoHS at national level to ensure that activities are coordinated and that the needs of the most at risk are addressed.
What you need to know about Ebola virus
Ebola virus disease is a severe, often fatal illness, with a death rate of up to 90%. Ebola first appeared in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Sudan. The origin of the virus is unknown. The disease can be transmitted human-human through body fluids and it has an incubation period between 2 and 21 days. Initial symptoms are fever, muscle pains, vomit and diarrhoea that can evolve including internal and external bleeding.