Published On: Mon, Mar 31st, 2014

West Africa: Unicef Steps Up Response in Guinea As Ebola Reaches Capital

Conakry, Guinea/Dakar, Senegal — Amid an Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever (Ebola HF) outbreak, four cases in Conakry have been confirmed yesterday by the Guinean Government. In Guinea’s capital and across the rest of the country, UNICEF is ramping up its activities in support of Guinean authorities to prevent the often fatal disease from claiming even more lives.

Out of 103 suspected cases in Guinea so far, 11 children have reportedly been infected, three of whom have died. Working with the Government and in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, UNICEF is disseminating information and soon supplies such as chlorine, gloves and soap across Conakry to enable families to avoid contracting the disease and protect themselves.

“In a densely populated city such as Conakry, extremely quick actions must be taken to reduce risks of the Ebola to families,” said UNICEF Representative in Guinea, Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya.

“There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of infected people or animals. Therefore prevention is one of the best ways to contain the virus. Access to timely and accurate life-saving information is hence absolutely crucial. This is where UNICEF is focusing its efforts moving forward,” he added.

When the official declaration confirming Ebola HF cases in the southern part of Guinea 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 bottles 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.

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.

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