UNICEF swiftly responds to Ebola outbreak in Guinea
CONAKRY, Guinea/DAKAR, Senegal – With an Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever (Ebola HF) outbreak declared in the Southern part of Guinea, 11 suspected cases of children infected have been reported, three of whom have died. In an effort to prevent the severe, often-fatal disease from spreading further, UNICEF immediately rushed in aid and delivered health supplies to the most affected areas.
When the official declaration was made by the Government last week, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Guinean Ministry of Health, sent five metric tons of equipment including calcium hypochlorite, chlorine, gloves, raincoats, plastic mats, blankets, tarpaulins, and syringes to health workers and at-risk communities.
Additionally, when the first signs of the disease appeared, UNICEF distributed 5,500 boxes of liquid chlorine, 50,000 pieces of soap and chlorine powder to medical workers and communities in the affected areas. Rehydration fluids and oral rehydration salts have also been supplied to help with some of the symptoms of Ebola HF, although there is no known cure or vaccine for the disease.
“Ebola HF is an extremely serious disease and UNICEF has taken immediate action to reduce the risks for children. UNICEF is working with the Government and in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to ensure that families and communities, in particular those in the affected areas, have the right information about Ebola HF and how to avoid contracting it” said UNICEF Representative in Guinea, Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya.
“Since there is no specific treatment for Ebola HF, which is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of infected people or animals, prevention is the best way to contain this virus. Therefore, information and communication are the most powerful weapons we have to contain this outbreak, and this is where UNICEF will focus its efforts moving forward,” he added.
In addition to Ebola HF, cholera, measles, and meningitis epidemics have been putting additional strain on the health system of Guinea. Already supporting the authorities to address these, UNICEF urgently calls on its partners in the international community to make funds available to provide life-saving supplies and logistical support crucially needed now to stop Ebola HF, and these other three epidemics, in Guinea.
Last Saturday, three suspected cases of haemorrhagic fever were reported in Conakry. Since then, laboratory tests conducted by the Ministry of Health and Institut Pasteur have led to the conclusion that there was no confirmed case of Ebola HF in the capital.
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