12 August 2014

Ebola outbreak has SOS Children's Villages on high alert

As the Ebola outbreak spreads, SOS Children's Villages programmes in West Africa are on high alert and taking the strictest measures to avoid infections. No children, mothers or co-workers from any SOS village have been infected.

12 August 2014

  • There have now been over 1,000 deaths in West Africa this year from confirmed or probable cases of Ebola, reports the World Health Organisation.
  • No SOS children, mothers, or co-workers have been infected.

The current situation

In the affected countries, there is an urgent need for funds to buy protective equipment. Emmanuel Olatungie, National Director, SOS Children’s Villages Sierra Leone, said: “The government has been desperately requesting … financial and material support from NGOs and INGOs, especially from those dealing with health.”
 
He added, “[…] we do not have a budget for this unfortunate Ebola situation. We hope we will be able to receive the desperately needed funding to procure necessary medical materials and supplies to assist in our fight against Ebola and to continue to keep our children, mothers and co-workers safe.”

SOS Children's Villages runs diverse child care, health, education and family strengthening programmes in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.


High alert and strict precautions
 
SOS Children's Villages in Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as associated SOS programmes serving families in the communities, are now on very high alert, with stringent measures put in place to diminish the risk of infection. Included among these measures are:
  • Constant use of chlorine, gloves and hand sanitizers within the villages and programmes.
  • Movement restrictions: children and youth from SOS Children’s Villages are being asked to remain in their villages over the summer. SOS mothers have sacrificed their annual vacations to remain in the villages and support the children and youth during this period of crisis.
  • SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools and SOS Children’s Villages Kindergartens are all closed for summer holidays and will remain closed until the situation is safe.
The SOS Medical Centre in Monrovia, Liberia, is the only major health facility in Monrovia that is still working 24 hours a day. This has created a serious workload for the staff. However, critical cases are being referred to designated Ebola control centres. The medical centre was forced to close for three consecutive days in early August to allow time for necessary cleaning and chlorinating of the wards and other facilities. On 4 August it reopened. The medical team is in place and receiving patients.

The governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will receive financial support from the World Bank to help them in the battle to contain the Ebola outbreak. To this end, the global bank has announced that it is allocating $200m (£120m).