West African Countries at Risk of Ebola Remain on High Alert, says UNICEF
NEW YORK (November 21, 2014) – With new Ebola cases in Mali and a continuing surge in Sierra Leone, UNICEF is stepping up efforts to help other West African countries at risk prepare for potential outbreaks.
“The new cases in Mali remind us that no country in the region is immune to Ebola,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We cannot wait for new cases in countries at risk before we take action. We must help communities today prepare for cases if they happen, when they happen, wherever they happen.”
In recent months, UNICEF has worked with all West and Central African countries to review their prevention and preparedness plans. In the 13 countries most at risk, focus has been on dispelling rumors, sharing life-saving information and providing supplies such as mattresses, soap, hydro-alcoholic gel, bleach, buckets, laser thermometers, gloves, diarrheal disease packages, syringes, tarpaulins and tents.
An Ebola Treatment Center in Bamako, the capital of Mali, is already operational while other health facilities, especially in the border areas, have been equipped with additional water, sanitation and hygiene services. In addition, 77 bus stations have been equipped with hand-washing materials.
In Côte d'Ivoire, which shares borders with Guinea, Liberia and Mali, mass public information campaigns are under way while community-based social workers go door-to-door to promote healthy behavior. UNICEF is working with community and religious leaders and organizing information sessions on good hygiene practices in more than 1,000 schools in the border regions.
In Guinea Bissau, an estimated 10,000 community health workers, teachers and opinion leaders will receive Ebola-related information and training. And in Benin, 50 local radio stations are airing Ebola education messages in all 8 main languages; a community engagement campaign is also rolling out through a network of more than 2,000 health promoters.
The 13 countries most at risk of contracting Ebola are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
How to help: For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNICEF’s relief efforts, please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:
Website: www.unicefusa.org/EbolaToll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDSText: EBOLA to 864233 to donate $10.
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038As with any emergency, in the event that donations exceed anticipated needs, the U.S. Fund will redirect any excess funds to children in greatest need.
To view photos and video from Ebola-affected countries, please visit: http://uni.cf/1xZAb39
About UNICEFThe United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
For more information, contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, firstname.lastname@example.org