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After Ebola: Vigilance and supporting survivors

Four SOS children and their SOS mother show their joy that Liberia is now free of Ebola
Four SOS children and their SOS mother show their joy that Liberia is now free of Ebola

The World Health Organization has declared Liberia free of Ebola. Officials made the announcement on 9 May 2015, 42 days after the last confirmed new case. Although Liberia is Ebola free, SOS Children remains cautious to ensure that all children and staff continue to stay safe.

Over the past 14 months, the Ebola virus has heavily affected three countries in West Africa – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Ebola outbreak – the worst in recorded history – has now infected over 26,900 people and killed 11,120 worldwide. Fortunately, all SOS children and young people have remained healthy. 

A new dawn

SOS Schools in Liberia reopened its doors in February 2015
Schools in Liberia reopened in February after being closed for over six months to prevent the spread of Ebola.

The sun is shining over Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, as a warm breeze blows across the landscape. The weather mirrors the mood in the city and across Liberia, after the country was declared free of the virus which claimed the lives of over 4,700 Liberians.

“I am so happy. We will be able to shake hands with our friends and even hug them when we are excited,” says an SOS child.

However, the lives that have been lost are not forgotten. Since the outbreak hit the country, life in Liberia has changed. Thousands of Liberians are still in mourning.

“My saddest moment was when the SOS mother from Jua Town died. We will never forget that day in Liberia,” says the Director of the SOS Children’s Village in Monrovia, James Collins.

SOS Children remains alert

SOS Children put strict measures in place to ensure that all the children in our care were safe. All SOS Villages in Liberia were under lockdown and the Ministry of Education ordered all schools to close in July 2014. Six months later, when the outbreak started to decline in Liberia at the beginning of 2015, schools began to reopen. In February, the SOS School and SOS Nursery in Monrovia, Liberia, were once again filled with students.

Although Liberia is now declared free of the deadly virus, SOS Children in Liberia remains alert. Preventative measures such as temperature checks and hygiene stations remain in place as Sierra Leone and Guinea continue to deal with Ebola.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to continue to assist Ebola survivors through the SOS Medical Centre in Monrovia,” explains the National Director.

SOS Children is now focusing on how to provide long term support to survivors.

SOS Medical Centre plays a vital role in tackling Ebola in Liberia
Providing health care 24 hours a day, the SOS Medical Centre remains a vital health facility in Liberia.

How we have helped fight Ebola

Over the past year, SOS Children has worked vigilantly to ensure all Villages and local Ebola survivors remain safe. Our efforts included:

  • Protecting all SOS children by limiting access in and out of Villages. All SOS staff were trained in vital preventive measures and hand-washing techniques 
  • The SOS Medical Centre in Monrovia was the only medical facility operating 24 hours a day. The centre treated non-Ebola-related cases to help relieve other health facilities in the area. A new Intensive Care Unit provided care to high-risk patients who tested negative to Ebola 
  • Providing support to children orphaned and abandoned through Interim Care Centres 
  • Providing food and non-food items such as children’s clothes and shoes, to local children and families.

Although our Ebola appeal is now closed, find out how our local teams dealt with the crisis. Go to the appeal now...