Ebola Emergency Update - November 2014

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Supporting Children and Families Facing Ebola – November 2014 Update

Over the past eight months, the Ebola outbreak has heavily affected Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and continues to threaten the social, political and economic fabric of West Africa.

All children continue to be safe in our SOS Children’s Villages.

The need is still great and SOS has been responding to this crisis.

SOS Children’s Villages has increased its precautionary measures to prevent infection, including fumigation of the SOS family homes in our villages and daily temperature checkups of our children.

Ebola transmission remains persistent and widespread in the three countries. The capital cities are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the infection.

We have been working diligently to find solutions to the medical, social and economic problems; here are some of the ways we are helping:

  • Child Protection: We will be providing support to those involved in family tracing and reunification programs to reunite children abandoned or orphaned by Ebola with their families or caregivers. We will be also providing essential amenities to affected families and orphaned children (money, food, clothing, activities to enable survivors to reintegrate the community).
  • Health: The SOS Medical Centre is the only major health facility in Monrovia, Liberia that is still operating 24-hours a day. To prevent infection, protective materials such as disposable suits, boots and gloves, are being provided to staff. In addition, the SOS Medical Centre will now have an Intensive Care Unit, and will provide medical services to 720 affected children and youth.
  • Mental Health:  We will be ensuring that SOS response staff, and affected caregivers and their children attend training on psychological first aid. We also plan to provide support to caregivers to handle distress and help them access essential services. SOS is also seeking to strengthen pre-existing community networks by providing information on how to cope with stress.
  • Education: With schools closed in all three countries, SOS is providing alternative education opportunities to ensure learning still continues.  Emergency radio education programs and private core educational lessons at SOS Villages are underway. Each of SOS School will have hand-washing facilities, sanitation kits, and an increased promotion of personal hygiene.
  • Community Strengthening: In many communities, Ebola survivors are facing exclusion and discrimination. In response, SOS is working to set up radio programs to engage Ebola survivors in social mobilization. Awareness programs will focus on preventing Ebola and stigmatization of child victims of the virus. Since all three counties are facing a surge in food prices, microcredit interventions and support (financial and logistics) are being provided to communities.