As the deadly Ebola virus spreads across West Africa at an alarming rate, international aid organisation CARE Australia has launched an Ebola Crisis Appeal to raise funds to ramp up its vital prevention activities to help stop the spread of the disease.
The Ebola virus has killed 4,493 people and 8,997 confirmed or probable cases of the Ebola virus have been reported in seven countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America), according to the World Health Organisation.
CARE emergency teams are in Sierra Leone and Liberia, helping to stop the spread of the disease by distributing hygiene materials such as soap, water buckets, gloves and chlorine; showing people proper hand-washing techniques; and promoting hygiene messages through local radio, posters and leaflet drops.
CARE Australia CEO Dr Julia Newton-Howes said the deadly Ebola crisis was devastating communities across West Africa.
‘This is the largest and most frightening Ebola outbreak the world has ever seen. Thousands of people have died from this rare, severe and usually fatal haemorrhagic fever, and thousands more are infected. Meanwhile, millions more people are affected as normal economic activities are curtailed due to fear of the disease, curfews and travel bans,” said Dr Newton-Howes.
“It’s a race against the clock to contain this disease, and one of the best ways to prevent infection is through proper hygiene. Currently, there are hand-washing stations outside every public building, but we urgently need donations to help us ramp up our distribution of hygiene materials to increase the number of hand-washing stations located in public areas.”
“Another important prevention activity is stopping some traditional beliefs and practices, such as treating corpses for burial and attending funerals, as corpses are highly infectious. These prevention activities and hygiene promotion are critical to stopping the spread of Ebola.”
“CARE will be conducting these activities in Sierra Leone and Liberia, including in two refugee camps where more than 20,000 refugees live in conditions where the disease could spread quickly if an outbreak occurs.”
Alfred Makavore, CARE’s Technical Health Advisor in Sierra Leone said, “We are fighting an invisible enemy, and as a developing country just emerging from years in civil war, we can’t get enough help right now to stop this virus.”