After Ebola, Thousands of Children Need Your Help To Recover
With the West African Ebola epidemic over, you might think our work is done. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ebola has taken a dramatic toll on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing thousands, affecting livelihoods, disrupting public services, putting children's education on hold and threatening the development progress achieved in recent years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 28,637 cases of Ebola and 11,315 deaths. Together, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone account for the vast majority of these grim statistics. In these three countries combined, more than 6,000 children were infected by Ebola, and more than 18,000 children lost one or both parents, or their primary caregivers.
In addition to the epidemic’s economic consequences—which always hurt the most vulnerable, particularly children—there are lingering problems for Ebola survivors in the form of post-Ebola syndrome, with a potential for ongoing symptoms for those affected. The wild reservoir for the Ebola virus is also still present. Both these medical realities mean that health systems must be strengthened to prepare for another potential outbreak.
UNICEF's Work During the Outbreak
From the epidemic’s start in 2014, UNICEF played a major role. In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, UNICEF worked with local communities, religious leaders and traditional healers to raise awareness of safe health practices among millions of people. UNICEF delivered more than 8,000 metric tons of critical medical supplies (the largest such operation in UNICEF’s history) and facilitated clean water access for Ebola treatment units. UNICEF also helped train a network of adult survivors as foster caregivers for child survivors and orphans.
Because Ebola deprived 5 million children of months of schooling, UNICEF helped enroll more than 3.3 million students in temporary schools, trained almost 31,000 teachers in Ebola prevention and distributed learning kits for more than 1.9 million children.
Faith-Based, Black History Month Initiative
Last year, during Black History Month, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF teamed up with African-American churches and religious organizations across the U.S. to stop Ebola. The joint initiative, I AM #STOPPINGEBOLA, raised funds to provide lifesaving hygiene kits to children and families in Liberia. We're proud to have worked with the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York, the Church of God in Christ, Inc., the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. on this initiative.