World Vision celebrates Ebola Free Declaration in Sierra Leone

Freetown Sierra Leone, 10 November 2015 – With no new reported cases of Ebola since the 27th of September, Sierra Leone has been officially declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) claimed the lives of 3,589 people in Sierra Leone.

The communities World Vision worked with were among the first to be declared Ebola-free.

"Of course a significant milestone has been reached, but Ebola has a history of resurfacing. Conscious efforts must be made by the Government and its partners to prevent its resurgence," says Leslie Scott, National Director, World Vision Sierra Leone.

The aid and development agency’s community development model enabled it to educate and mobilize large groups of people to prevent the spread of Ebola. The communities World Vision worked with were among the first to be declared Ebola-free.

Related: More on World Vision's work during the Ebola crisis. 

“Our inclusive faith-based approach was also key in achieving the 42-day Ebola free milestone. We trained faith leaders from Christian and Muslim communities and local chiefs in Ebola prevention and control, who in turn, engaged their respective communities. These faith leaders helped change behaviors and attitudes concerning traditional burial practices and the need for hand washing,” says Leslie Scott.

The country is on the road to recovery but there are still major challenges ahead in post-Ebola Sierra Leone including a very fragile health system.

“We would also like to recognize our key donors and partners, OFDA, DFID, USAID and Irish Aid for their tremendous contribution to the fight against Ebola. We owe this victory to God first, and to collaborative, sacrificial and collective work by government and its partners working in Sierra Leone.”

The country is on the road to recovery but there are still major challenges ahead in post-Ebola Sierra Leone including a very fragile health system. World Vision continues to urge the Government of Sierra Leone and the international community to:

  • Invest in health systems and structures
  • Build the capacity of medical personnel. Sierra Leone lost its only virologist to Ebola as well as 221 other health workers.
  • Ensure hospitals and health centers have essential equipment and supplies
  • Continue social mobilization and health education throughout the country
  • Develop a scheme for the protection of children orphaned by the virus
  • Be vigilant about the possible resurgence of Ebola

“At this time I’d like to congratulate all of those who made the victory over Ebola possible; our NGO partners, the Government of Sierra Leone, medical personnel, our community partners and, last but not least, our brave burial workers who put their lives on the line to prevent the further spread of the virus,” says Leslie Scott.

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SAFE AND DIGNIFIED BURIALS (SDB)

World Vision-led Safe and dignified Burial Consortium comprising CRS and CAFOD has done a great job. As of 30 October 2015, Our 800 team members in the SMART Consortium have provided safe and dignified burials for 36,533 people, including Ebola victims and others.17, 229 burials were conducted by WV burial teams, alone.

WORLD VISION IN SIERRA LEONE

World Vision has been operating in Sierra Leone since March 1996, and is active in in four Districts: Bo, Kono, Pujehun and Bonthe. During the Ebola crisis the aid and development agency expanded its operation into five more Districts: Moyamba, Kailahun, Tonkolili, Kambia and Port Loko.

There are some 58,000 sponsored children in Sierra Leone. World Vision Sierra Leone’s strategic priorities are Health and Nutrition, Education, Livelihoods, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Child Protection.

For further information please contact:

Sahr Ngaujah, Acting Communications Manager, WVSL

Mobile: +232 (0) 76-609-251

Email: sahr_ngaujah@wvi.org

Skype: sahrngaujah