Working with communities to support them through the crisis and help bring Ebola to an end.

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During the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Red Cross teams went door-to-door and worked with community elders and religious leaders to ensure families knew about how the virus is spread, what the symptoms are, and the importance of early treatment. Besides the door-to-door visits to deliver key messages and enter into a dialogue, the Red Cross is using a range of communication channels, from television soap opera and interactive radio programmes to SMS messaging to promote behaviour change.

Myths were debunked, the truth was told. The disease is not airborne, or spread in water, or passed on by witchcraft or evil doers. It comes from direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.From the community in turn, structured feedback provided a wealth of information and data.

Community engagement was not new but the needs thrown up by Ebola had established it as an essential tool found across the board of operations.

Communities in action

DRC- Kinshasa-  the preventive vaccination campaign was launched  on  the 16  August 2016 . about 8 million people are expected to be vaccinated. the Red Cross  has deployed about 1800 volunteers to cover  social mobilization activities before  during and after the campaign. Tresor a Red Cross  supervisor  is assisting  in registration activities in the Barumbu mother  and child  health centre  where vaccination teams  have  been deployed.

More needs to be done to engage communities facing infectious disease outbreaks in famine threatened countries in Africa as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where Ebola has recently resurfaced.

23 May 2017
Ebola outbreak in DRC- Likati health District  in the province of Bas-Uele . DRC  Red Cross WASH expert and IFRC  RDRT  member   participating  in  an  assessment  mission  in affected  localities ( Nambwa, Muma and  Ngayi )

In the past week alone, over 150 Red Cross volunteers have been mobilized to provide emergency assistance following the announcement of an Ebola outbreak in Likati health district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

19 May 2017
Kailahun district, Sierra Leone July 2014

During an Ebola virus disease outbreak in Sierra Leone, the Red Cross was asked by the government to take over the dead body management. This includes preparing a body for burial, disinfecting the house and burying the body. 
Communities, while still wary of Ebola, are curious and come out en masse to watch the proceedings. 
To date, more than 50 people have been buried from this district, ranging in age from the very young (14 months) to the elderly (70)

On 9 May 2017, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared a suspected Ebola outbreak in Likati Health Zone in the far north of the country.

15 May 2017
Kono, Sierra Leone, Feb 2015

Mary Juana, 28, is a nurse at the _kindergarten_ at the IFRC Ebola treatment centre in Kono, Sierra Leone. She is also an Ebola survivor. 

Before joining the Red Cross, she worked at the Ebola holding centre at Koidu government hospital where she got infected. She was transferred to the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kenema where she received treatment for 13 days. While happy she survived, she also lost 10 colleagues to the disease. 

She now works in the kindergarten (an interim observation area for asymptomatic children under the age of seven) at the IFRC ETC in Kono, taking care of contact children. She looks after them and plays with them. She says if she stays home she only feels sad, thinking of her colleagues who passed away.

Mary Juana was a nurse at the ‘kindergarten’ at the IFRC Ebola treatment centre in Kono, Sierra Leone. She is also an Ebola survivor. This is her story.

7 April 2017

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