UNICEF Works to Contain Ebola Fever Outbreak in West Africa
Ebola fever has broken out in the West African nation of Guinea, killing at least 59 people and creating fears of a wider regional outbreak. UNICEF has responded by rushing health supplies to the most affected areas in an effort to prevent the severe, often-fatal disease from spreading further.
"The forest region where UNICEF delivered the emergency assistance on Saturday is located along the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia with many people doing business and moving between the three countries," said UNICEF spokesman Laurent Duvillier. "Risk of international spread should be taken seriously."
11 suspected cases of the disease have been reported among children, three of whom have died. UNICEF, working with the Guinean Ministry of Health, has sent five metric tons of equipment including chlorine, gloves, raincoats, plastic mats, blankets, tarpaulins and syringes to health workers and at-risk communities.
Additionally, when the first signs of the disease appeared, UNICEF distributed 5,500 boxes of liquid chlorine, 50,000 pieces of soap and chlorine powder to medical workers and affected communities. Rehydration fluids and oral rehydration salts have also been supplied to help with some of Ebola's symptoms. There is no known cure for the disease.
“Ebola is an extremely serious disease and UNICEF has taken immediate action to reduce the risks for children.” said UNICEF Representative in Guinea, Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya.
“Since there is no specific treatment ... information and communication are the most powerful weapons we have to contain this outbreak, and this is where UNICEF will focus its efforts moving forward,” he added.