Fighting Ebola in West Africa

October 21, 2014 • Liberia

Samaritan's Purse is continuing efforts to fight the deadly virus in Liberia through Community Care Centers, home-based care, and public health education.

Samaritan’s Purse has ramped up its response to the unprecedented Ebola outbreak.

The virus has already claimed more than 4,800 lives in West Africa, primarily in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The total number of cases is doubling every three weeks, according to health officials.

On October 2, 100 tons of protective equipment and supplies arrived in Liberia on a 747 cargo jet chartered and stocked by Samaritan’s Purse. Among the critically needed supplies were rubber gloves, face masks, rubber boots, disinfectants, buckets, and inflatable tents for the set up of Community Care Centers.

READ MORE: Ebola supplies being distributed in Liberia

1487LR-K-659Hundreds of Samaritan’s Purse staff are focusing on a new community care initiative in Liberia. In cooperation with national and international strategies, our approach is focusing on the construction and supervision of Community Care Centers in high-transmission areas.

In remote areas of the country under siege from the Ebola virus, we will train Liberians to run 10-bed facilities that provide basic supportive care. Our national and international staff will manage operations. Samaritan’s Purse is prepared to build and manage up to 15 Community Care Centers in rural areas across the country.

As many infected persons may remain outside both treatment units and care centers for various reasons, including a sheer lack of beds, Samaritan’s Purse staff will also offer interim home-based interventions. In an effort to reduce transmission rates, staff will train health workers to provide hygienic, supportive care for infected community members. Along with the trainings, up to 3,000 care kits will be distributed, each of which includes a set of protective clothing, hydration items, disinfectant, and other materials.1487LR - Ebola Response to Liberia

“Our efforts are moving in the correct direction,” said Ken Isaacs, Vice President of Programs and Government Relations for Samaritan’s Purse. “We are training people to take care of their loved ones, while protecting themselves and their families from infections.”

Critical Education Component

In addition, Samaritan’s Purse will continue its ongoing education campaign to provide infection prevention and control information to the public. Up to 50,000 kits filled with basic hygiene items—such as gloves, soap, buckets, a disinfectant for hand-washing, and a disinfectant for treating drinking water—will be distributed to campaign participants. Our focus will be on educating 300,000 people in high-transmission areas across multiple counties throughout the country.

Samaritan's Purse is working with churches to educate people about Ebola.

Samaritan’s Purse is working with churches to educate people about Ebola.

Samaritan’s Purse has been responding since March to the outbreak in Liberia, where we have had a country office for more than a decade. Through public awareness campaigns earlier in the year, nearly 450,000 individuals were reached with important education about Ebola through August. Thousands more were reached through radio broadcasts.

Since mid-August, a new church-focused campaign has educated nearly 6,000 religious leaders with congregations totaling around 450,000 members. We continue to respond to invitations from churches, and also mosques, to provide Ebola education and awareness.

Please pray for the people of West Africa, for an end to this disease outbreak, and for our staff as they respond.