Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Cholera Outbreak in Sierra Leone

ChildFund is responding to the cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone, which has claimed the lives of at least 250 people, including a number of children, and infected more than 15,000.

Billy Abimbilla, National Director for ChildFund Sierra Leone, says the outbreak started earlier this year in a few locations and quickly spread to all parts of the country. While efforts are being made to contain the spread, poor road networks, heavy rains and insufficient resources are complicating the problem.

“This outbreak is different from other ones because of the speed with which it spread, the ease with which it kills and the scale of the geographical spread of the problem,” he told AlertNet. “Cholera, even though can be treated with basic medicines and by maintaining proper hygienic conditions, can be fatal if not detected and treated early. Children are most vulnerable to this outbreak.”

ChildFund has been conducting awareness-raising sessions with local communities on how to prevent the spread of the disease, as well as the need to report early to the nearest clinic when the signs are detected. Our local partners have carried out house-to-house education on the outbreak. ChildFund is also providing safe water facilities in some communities to support the immediate and longer term solutions to the problem.

“The impact of the cholera outbreak on local communities has been devastating,” says Billy. “Families lose their loved ones, mostly the most productive family members or breadwinners, very young children and infants. This can be very traumatic to local communities and families. In addition, a lot of time is spent in caring for the infected rather than going about productive activities such as farming and other income earning ventures. Infected persons are not able to go to school or work and this is an overall loss to local communities.”

Read the full interview with ChildFund Sierra Leone national director Billy Abimbilla here [Source: AlertNet // Julie Mollins]

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