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Impact of Ebola

© UNICEF/NYHQ2014-1612/Bindra
A boy sits on a bench at the UNICEF-supported centre in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, which provides shelter for several children living on the streets.

Many children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola since the start of the outbreak in West Africa, it's one of the first obstacles that must be overcome if West Africa is to recover.

“Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West & Central Africa, after a two-week visit to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned. Orphans are usually taken in by a member of the extended family, but in some communities, the fear surrounding Ebola is becoming stronger than family ties.”

As hope grows in West Africa due to decreasing Ebola infections, there are many obstacles to overcome; devastated health care systems, loss of education and distressed social structures face all those who have lived through the Ebola outbreak. The strongest direction forward requires the participation of all communities to reknit the fabric of the lives and kinship ties that were functioning before Ebola.

Schools to reopen in Liberia after 7-month closure due to Ebola
DAKAR, 13 February 2015 – As children in Liberia prepare to return to their classrooms next week, following seven months of Ebola-related school closures, UNICEF and its partners are putting in place safety measures to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus.

More than 16,000 children lost parents or caregivers to Ebola
DAKAR, Senegal/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 6 February 2015 – Some 16,600 children are registered as having lost one or both parents, or their primary caregivers to Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but less than 3 per cent have had to be placed outside family or community care, UNICEF said today. “Since overcoming their initial fears and misconceptions about Ebola, families have been showing incredible support, providing care and protection for children whose parents have died,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “This shows the strength of kinship ties and the extraordinary resilience of communities at a time of great hardship.”

UNICEF Ebola response: 400+ survivors receive psycho-social support and kits to restart their lives
KENEMA, Sierra Leone, 24 December 2014 – More than 400 Ebola survivors have taken part in four separate survivor conferences over the past few days in the districts of Kailahun, Kenema and Bo, where they learned more about protecting their communities, were informed as to how their bodies defeated the disease, and received psycho-social support. Read more about Ebola survivors

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Thousands of children orphaned by Ebola: UNICEF
Orphaned children often face stigma and rejection
DAKAR/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 30 September 2014 – At least 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola since the start of the outbreak in West Africa, according to preliminary UNICEF estimates, and many are being rejected by their surviving relatives for fear of infection.

Ebola: leaving children orphaned in Sierra Leone
Popping his head out from behind the front door is Francis, a 13-year-old boy who welcomes me into a sparsely furnished home on the fringes of Kailahun town. The house is humble but sturdy, nestled on the side of one of the lush, gentle hills that characterize the landscape of Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province.

Fighting the largest Ebola outbreak
September 2014: The largest Ebola outbreak in history continues to accelerate in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. UNICEF has joined efforts to curtail the disease, but across affected areas, health workers and relief organizations are struggling to keep up with the unparalleled outbreak.

Treating Ebola in Sierra Leone
KENEMA, Sierra Leone, 6 August 2014 – As the outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa continues to spread, health workers in Sierra Leone are risking their lives in the effort to contain the deadly disease. The Ebola Unit at Kenema District Hospital has become what could be described as the ‘Ground Zero’ of Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak. As one health official commented, “We can’t send anybody away – this is where you come if you have Ebola symptoms. If we have to, we will add more beds.”



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