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UNICEF response

UNICEF has been on the frontlines in Ebola-affected countries from the outset

© UNICEF/UNI171844/Aaen
9000 household protection kits are transported to the UNICEF warehouse in Liberia, from where they will be distributed to children and families in areas highly affected by Ebola.

5 NEW parts of the UNICEF response
Vigilance still necessary in West Africa

As the terrible and sweeping effects of Ebola continue, UNICEF is on the ground with communities working to build back better. Months ago, we reported on the work we were doing at the height of the Ebola epidemic (those notes below) but we are still there and here are some of the things that we're doing now.

  • Because communities are at the heart of the response, we have been working closely with them to promote behaviours that help stop transmission, such as safe burials and handwashing. We engage in dialogue with key members of the community and conduct massive outreach campaigns, and have been going door-to-door, visiting more than two million households.
  • We support community care centres, have helped set up rapid intervention kits and trained health workers in Ebola-specific protocols. We also provide water and sanitation to Ebola treatment units. While the priority remains to get to zero cases, we’re also helping revitalize non-Ebola health services. We have provided massive treatment for malaria and are taking part in major measles immunization campaigns.
  • We have helped governments put in place measures to minimize the risk of transmission at schools, including temperature taking and handwashing, and helped train teachers in applying these protocols. We have supplied soap and buckets for the vast majority of schools in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  •  We are working to improve hygiene and sanitation, promoting handwashing, and distributing hundreds of thousands of bars of soap as well as buckets with taps. Proper hygiene is key to stopping transmission of the Ebola virus.
  • We are delivering supplies that are important for the treatment and care of people who are sick with Ebola, for the protection of health workers and for continued supply of basic services. By mid-April we delivered about 8,000 metric tonnes by air and sea to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Six earlier parts of the UNICEF response:

While UNICEF’s immediate focus was to help contain the spread of the disease and address communities’ urgent needs, we also worked (and are working) to maintain and restore basic social services including child and maternal health and nutrition services, water and sanitation, education, and social welfare. Examples below illustrate UNICEF’s ongoing work in the affected countries.

  • Community Care Centres are relatively simple but important facilities set up to isolate and care for patients close to home. CCCs provide patients with basic care, including food and rehydration, where they can be aided by their communities. UNICEF provides an array of support, including water supply, sanitation, solid waste disposal, and nutrition assistance, as well as Ebola-management training of personnel.
  • Children’s care: As well as establishing care centres, UNICEF is leading efforts to find foster care arrangements for children who have lost parents and to reunite children with their families. Psychological services are being provided, as well as clothes, blankets and supplies. 
  • Social mobilization: UNICEF is promoting community ownership of the response based on a sound understanding of how to avoid contracting and spreading the virus, while providing critical information about available services, including CCCs. This is done through door-to-door campaigns, leaflets, radio/television spots, and dialogue with community leaders.
  • Health care and nutrition services are being re-established or continued with UNICEF support. This helps ensure children receive vaccinations, medicines, mosquito nets, nutritional screening, treatment of severe acute malnutrition, and vitamin supplementation.
  • Supply delivery: UNICEF is a major provider of supplies in the Ebola response, including protective gloves, safety goggles, IV fluids, medicines, soap and chlorine.
  • Community support: UNICEF is helping train Ebola survivors to provide care and psychological support to children. As schools remain closed, UNICEF supports education through distance learning opportunities and educational radio programmes, and has developed guidance on how to keep schools safe when they reopen.




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