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New cases of Ebola decreasing in West Africa

Thousands of children have been orphaned as a result of Ebola
Thousands of children have been orphaned as a result of Ebola

The World Health Organisation has announced that in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, cases of Ebola are falling. After more than 8600 deaths, this is welcome, relieving news. However, the devastating social and economic impacts caused by the Ebola outbreak continue to be felt. Here, get the latest updates and photos from the countries affected.

Situation in Liberia

New cases of Ebola in Liberia are decreasing, and the country hopes to be free of Ebola in the next few months. However, authorities have warned against complacency: "one case is already an epidemic and can re-start an outbreak at anytime, anywhere".  

  • Deaths: 3556. Clinical cases: 8,362.

Salome, Ebola survivor, is now working in Interim Care Centre, LiberiaEbola survivors help care for ebola orphans

“I only waited for the time that I would die and be free from such pain, ” says Salome Tomah talking about her experience of Ebola. Fortunately, unlike so many others, Salome survived the deadly virus.

Along with other survivors, Salome is now working at the Interim Care Centre (ICC) in Monrovia and helping to care for children under five years old who have been orphaned or abandoned as a result of Ebola.

There are already two Interim Care Centres in Liberia, with plans to establish more ICCs in all 15 counties. These centres are run by the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and supported by SOS Children, Unicef and Médecins Sans Frontières among others.

  • SOS Children donated several food items (rice, vegetable oils, powdered milk) and non-food items (clothes, towels, shoes) to affected children and families. Items are distributed to Ebola survivors, Ebola patients and people in quarantine.
  • The SOS Medical Centre in Monrovia has been collaborating with government agencies to raise public awareness of Ebola, and advocating for children and orphans affected directy or indirectly by the Ebola Virus. The medical centre remains open 24/7 and is working in close partnership with a local Ebola Treatment Unit.

Situation in Sierra Leone

Schools and colleges remain closed indefinately. As a consequence, rates of teenage pregnancy, child labour and street children have all increased. Basic commodities and even medical supplies are increasing in price and scarcity.

Sori, 8 month old baby whose mother died of Ebola in Makeni Sierra Leone

  • Deaths: 2767. Confirmed cases: 789

How SOS Children is helping in Sierra Leone

  • In SOS Children's Villages in Sierra Leone, precautions remain in place, and no visitors are allowed inside the premises. With schools closed, they are being provided with home schooling activities. 
  • As the three SOS Schools and three SOS Nurseries in Sierra Leone are closed, SOS teachers are providing fortnightly home-schooling materials for pupils. 
  • We are providing children, mothers and SOS staff with medical supplies.
  • We are supporting the government's Interim Child Centre and quarantined communities with basic food, clothing and hygiene supplies.  
  • SOS Children's Village in Bo has extended its VSAT internet service to the government hospital, local NGOs and other medical services as part of a ICT coordinated Ebola response. 

Situation in Guinea

After three months of closure, schools reopened on 19th January. In schools, measures are in place to reduce the risk of Ebola infection, including regularly screening children's temperatures, washing hands, and minimising physical contact.

  • Deaths: 1,875. Confirmed cases: 2539

SOS Children's work in Guinea

  • At SOS Children's Villages in Guinea, no children and staff have been directly affected by Ebola, and preventative measures remain in place.
  • While schools have been closed, children have been home-schooled with the help of SOS teachers. 
  • SOS Schools opened their doors again on Monday 19th January. Thermometers and chlorine water are kept in every classroom.

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