Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Progress as Ebola recedes in West Africa

This week, ChildFund International president and CEO, Anne Lynam Goddard visited Liberia, which was declared free of Ebola last Saturday. While neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone still have some active cases of Ebola, the numbers are considerably lower than several months ago, at the height of the epidemic.

Since March 2014, when the virus began spreading quickly through West Africa, ChildFund has worked with governments and other nongovernmental organisations to make communities aware of preventive hygiene practices and also help survivors and children affected by the virus.

The focus of our work, which started in October 2014, was the opening of Interim Care Centres (ICC), where children who had lost caregivers to Ebola could receive care and attention while being watched for symptoms of Ebola. People working at the ICCs were often Ebola survivors, who are immune to the disease. The volunteers also worked to find homes for these children — many of whom are orphans — after their release from quarantine.

 

ChildFund International president and CEO, Anne Lynam Goddard meeting children in Liberia

Today, ICC staff members are still checking on the welfare of these children and their caretakers, some of whom have taken in several children and need assistance. As schools and public institutions reopen, life may look more normal in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but the struggle for children who lost parents, siblings and other loved ones to Ebola remains quite painful.

“The memory will be part of your life forever. Don’t think of being a victim but a survivor,” said Goddard, speaking to Ebola survivors this week at Kelekula Interim Care Centre in Monrovia, Liberia.

“I know this is not the end,” she added. “I know that many lives have been affected that will not go back to normal, and we know that it will take a lot to bring people, children, families and communities back on the path toward the future.”

ChildFund Australia would like to acknowledge the generous donations of Australians, who have helped provide food, shelter, health care and support for children orphaned by Ebola through the interim care centres. ChildFund continues to support these children in the recovery process.

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