December 24 2014
With Sierra Leone experiencing a major surge in cases of the Ebola virus, international attention is once again focused on how to help contain the deadly threat. The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that Kono District in Sierra Leone has become a hotspot for the virus, and local authorities have taken immediate action to control the outbreak, including putting Kono under lockdown from December 10th – 23rd and banning all public Christmas ceremonies.
Two thousand people in Sierra Leone have already died after contracting the Ebola virus, and the number of cases has risen sharply in recent weeks, with 1,261 new cases reported in the past 21 days alone. In Kono, where we work, the number of Ebola cases has more than doubled over a month.
Since 2006, Wellbody Alliance has worked to develop community-oriented, humane approaches to care giving in Kono District, building trust and partnership within the Kono community. Working with Partners In Health, Koidu Government Hospital, and international aid organizations, we have helped implement a strong Ebola response plan from the first weeks of the outbreak. Now, the communities and families of Kono that we have served for the past eight years face the brunt of the deadly virus.
It is vital that we meet this new surge with a swift, strong, and coordinated response.
Wellbody Alliance plans to ramp up efforts to control the spread of Ebola in Kono. In the next few weeks, we will take on a larger operational role at four Ebola care centers in remote areas of the district and will start referring patients to the Ebola treatment facility that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is building adjacent to our clinical site. Wellbody is also helping build the capacity of local response teams by training emergency community health workers in direct and preventive care. Meanwhile, the Wellbody clinic remains open and operational, providing primary care and maternal and pediatric services.
This horrendous epidemic has torn apart families and friends in Kono and throughout West Africa. However, we know that with swift action, a thorough and coordinated response, and our years of expertise in Kono building local partnerships, we can protect and heal Kono.
All we need is your help. Please consider supporting Wellbody Alliance as we work with on-the-ground partners to mount a robust clinical and community-based response to this growing crisis.