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Ebola back hours after WHO declares outbreak over

Our medical staff have been providing support for non-Ebola-related conditions, relieving the burden on Liberia's health services
Our medical staff have been providing support for non-Ebola-related conditions, relieving the burden on Liberia's health services

Just after the World Health Organisation declared the Ebola outbreak over, Sierra Leone officials have confirmed another death from the deadly virus. SOS Children is continuing to help affected countries, including providing support to Ebola orphans.

Two years after the epidemic began, the WHO declared the “end of active transmission" for the entire region of West Africa on Thursday. This came after 42 days without a new human transmission of Ebola in Liberia. Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on 7th November and Guinea on 29th December, 2015.

However, a new case has emerged in Sierra Leone. According to the BBC, someone who died in northern Sierra Leone this week has tested positive for Ebola. When the WHO announced the end of the Ebola epidemic, it warned that flare-ups are still likely to occur. Liberia is latest country to be free of Ebola transmissions, but it has been cleared twice before.

The epidemic, which began in Guinea, has killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa, and has orphaned more than 4,000 children in Guinea alone.

What we are doing to help

SOS Children is committed to ensuring the children in our care stay safe, and to provide assistance to vulnerable families and communities affected by the virus. Our locally based teams have the knowledge and experience to keep children safe at times of crisis. We are known and trusted by local people, meaning we are well-placed to respond when need is great.

An infant girl has her temperature taken as part of Ebola screening at a checkpoint, Sierra Leone
This girl is having her temperature taken at an Ebola screening checkpoint in Kenema, Sierra Leone

Last January, SOS Guinea began a pilot programme to assist Ebola victims in Conakry, Coyah, Forécariah and Nzérékoré. Roughly 1,200 orphaned children are receiving monthly foodstuffs and schooling material.

SOS Children is also providing counseling to families and reuniting Ebola orphans with extended family members. In cases where there is no-one left to care for them, we place them in an SOS family, under the care of a loving mother at an SOS Children's Village.

The Villages are continuing to take the appropriate precaution measures. In Liberia, George Kordahi, National Director, SOS Children’s Villages Liberia, explains that they will not be reducing the Ebola security procedures in place until ordered by the Government.

“As long as the virus presence is felt within this region, Sierra Leone, Guinea and probably the Ivory Coast, we will not relax these procedures,” says Mr. Kordahi.

“SOS Liberia is strong and more prepared to deal with any eventuality in the future, and keep our staff and children safe, and continue to play our role in being an active partner within the national response coalition and assist where we can within our area of operation.”

SOS Children has been present in West Africa throughout the world's deadilest outbreak of Ebola. Discover all of the ways we have helped Ebola victims in our previous emergency appeal.