Fears Rise, Communities Respond in West Africa Ebola Outbreak

BRAC and Jeffrey Wright's Taia Peace Foundation say additional funds are needed to mobilize health workers and stop spread of deadly disease

Amidst fears that an Ebola outbreak is spreading out of control in parts of West Africa, the anti-poverty organization BRAC is calling for additional resources to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

“People are now afraid,” said Tapan Karmakar, country representative of BRAC Sierra Leone, who added that funds for travel and food costs are needed for community health workers to reach remote areas.

“BRAC is now distributing leaflets and posters in all six of the districts in Sierra Leone in which our health programs operate” including Kenema, the site of the latest outbreak, says Karmakar. Previously the virus had been concentrated mainly in Kailahun, near the border with Guinea, where the majority of deaths have occurred so far.

Affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the West African Ebola outbreak is considered the worst ever in terms of death toll and people affected. Within Sierra Leone, the epicentre of the epidemic has been the Koindu chiefdoms in the eastern district of Kailahun.

Community health workers trained by BRAC (with support from donations) are going door to door, educating people on how to stop the deadly virus, which is spread mainly through human-to-human contact, including unsafe funerary practices. BRAC’s all-female frontline cadre of 400 community health promoters in Sierra Leone, who sell basic health goods and services to their neighbours, have already received refresher courses on community sensitization on Ebola.

Taia Peace Foundation is seeking to distribute disposable gloves and chlorine for care givers and those who have contact with the diseased and dead. "Minimal medical infrastructure exists where the Ebola virus is now active. If these communities are to have a fighting chance in preventing further transmission, they will need serious material assistance from the outside and now," says Wright, who co-founded Taia Peace Foundation in 2007 to assist rural communities in Sierra Leone.

Far more work and resources are needed, BRAC’s Karmaker said. BRAC Sierra Leone has printed and distributed 2,000 leaflets so far and is seeking funds to print 10,000 more and to facilitate health workers’ travel and food costs.

The virus, which causes fevers, vomiting blood, bleeding, skin rash, bloody diarrhoea, and organ failure, has killed more than 350 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the epidemic began in March.

Those wishing to contribute to the ongoing response can donate online to BRAC USA.

About BRAC 
BRAC, a development organization founded in Bangladesh in 1972, is a global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty. With more than 100,000 employees, it is the world's largest non-governmental organization, touching the lives of an estimated 135 million people in 12 countries using a wide array of antipoverty tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more. Learn more at BRAC.net.

BRAC USA is an independent, US-based grantmaking affiliate of BRAC formed in 2006 to advance and support BRAC's global mission to create opportunities to unleash human potential and end poverty. Download our annual report here.

About Taia Peace Foundation 
Taia Peace Foundation (TPF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2007, is the rural development arm of Taia Lion Resources (TLR), a leading ethical and socially responsible mineral exploration company currently operating in Sierra Leone. The founding mission of Taia Peace is to assist rural African communities in overcoming the so-called "resource curse." The seed for the creation of Taia Peace germinated near the Taia river in central Sierra Leone, but our hope is to work at the behest of communities across Africa as they endeavor to remove the social and economic barriers that inhibit lasting peace.

Media Contact 
Scott MacMillan 
T: 212 808 5615 
C: 508 310 3018 

SOURCE: (PRWEB) June 27, 2014

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  • Caricom

    Are you kidding me? These NGO's are part of the problem. The entire global commerce system is the problem. These NGO's are intent of reducing birthrates and utilizing the natural resources the West needs. These are not African concerns. These are Western concerns. 

    Poverty is caused by the West controlling the economies, politics and now the military of African countries. If the West really wants to see Africa prosper, then they should allow African natural resources to be sold to the West for gold, not worthless paper money. They should allow Africans in the diaspora to return to their Motherland, enjoy dual citizenship and help Africa fend for herself.

    But the West wants Africa on her knees, growing cash crops that do not feed the people, forcing the African countries to import food from the West to eat. The West wants to control the natural resources of Africa, especially because there are certain minerals, metals, etc. that are only available in large quantities in Africa. These materials are essential to the West's defense systems and industries. 

    You see, Africa can get along without the West. However, the West cannot survive, in it's present state, without Africa. Do not be fooled by the propaganda. The West is not Africa's or African's in the diaspora's friend - indeed, they are the enemy. Shalom family.

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