UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Manuel Fontaine said, rumors and denial are fueling the spread of Ebola and putting even more lives at risk as people still deny that the disease is real with others locked with the misconception that the disease doesn’t not need to be treated.”
Records from World Health Organization (WHO) indicates
over 850 cases recorded in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by the this
first-ever Ebola outbreak in West Africa which has turned into regional
threat, unprecedented in duration and in scale. As, the fever continues
to spread, report show that it is being perceived with widespread
misconception, resistance, denial and occasional hostility in some
communities who are considerably making it hard for humanitarian
agencies response to contain the outbreak.
“The response goes beyond
medical care,” Fontaine said. “If we are to break the chain of Ebola
transmission, it is crucial to combat the fear surrounding it and earn
the trust of communities. We have to knock on every door, visit every
market and spread the word in every church and every mosque. To do so,
we urgently need more people, more funds, more partners.”
in Accra, WHO convened governments from across West Africa,
non-governmental organizations, regional inter-governmental
organizations and United Nations agencies to agree on a set of joint
priority actions for the first time since the beginning of the Ebola
In a bid to save lives, UNICEF has stepped up its efforts
across the seven countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia,
Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali and Gambia to prevent further spread of the
virus, through mobile messaging and ongoing TV, radio and print mass
traditional and non-traditional communication campaigns. Since the
outbreak, 5.5 million people in West Africa have been reached.
Liberia, for example, two pop songs produced by local group Crusaders
for Peace, and “HIPCO” artists- Deng, SoulFresh and FA with support from
UNICEF on how to prevent the spread of Ebola are being aired on
national and community radio stations across the country.
with its network of partners, including government authorities, WHO, Red
Cross Societies and local organizations, UNICEF also supports
door-to-door activities. Prevention efforts have been made to sensitize
more communities in affected areas, including with the involvement of
traditional and religious authorities as key allies.
In Guinea and
Liberia, UNICEF and its partners have also become the main provider of
chlorine and soap with more than 2 million bars of soaps and over
600,000 bottles of chlorine distributed in households, health centers
and schools since April. In addition, UNICEF teams in Ghana and Côte
d’Ivoire have also been put on alert.
To further ramp up its
efforts, UNICEF immediately requests US$ 2.6 million for six countries.
This funding gap is very likely to increase as national response plans
in several countries are being revised to cope with the additional
number of cases and to step up prevention efforts.
Misconceptions fuel Ebola outbreak in West Africa-UNICEF
Kampala, Kampala, Uganda