17 July 2014

SOS Children’s Villages’ work to combat Ebola virus outbreak praised; all SOS children and staff still safe

(7/17/2014): The ongoing outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has not affected any SOS Children’s Villages children or staff members in Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Guinea according to latest reports. SOS is taking action to raise public awareness of best hygiene and precautionary practices in the three countries.

The Ebola virus has now killed 603 people in the region, with 68 deaths reported in the last week, according to the World Health Organization.

SOS Liberia and the Ebola virus outbreak

“The number of people contaminated and dying is increasing day by day,” Simon Tokpohozin, an SOS staff member in Liberia, said.

"In Monrovia, Liberia the population is not taking it seriously despite the media attention.”

There are two Ebola treatment and quarantine centers in Liberia but there is a shortage of staff at both.

“Many health centers that are still operating but rejecting patients. Most of the rejected patients are coming to our SOS Medical Center,” Tokpohozin said.

A special team from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Liberia visited the SOS Medical Center in Monrovia and praised its pragmatic, professional, and technical approaches to the outbreak.

“They commended us for everything we are doing and for the steps we are taking to prevent the spread of the disease and increase public awareness,” Tokpohozin said.

“The SOS Medical Centre Monrovia is highly regarded by the population as the facility that is best prepared to manage the prevailing crisis. And the SOS Liberia team is very determined to do its best to manage this crisis efficiently and effectively.”

Recently, a reporter visited the SOS Village in Monrovia and witnessed these effective measures first-hand.

How is SOS handling the outbreak in Sierra Leone?

“Many Sierra Leoneans are refusing to accept the fact that Ebola is real,” Olatungie Emmanuel Ekundayo Woode said.

Woode, the national director of SOS Children’s Villages in Sierra Leone, said children and staff members in the SOS Villages are washing their hands regularly using chlorine and disinfectants, but that the movement of people throughout the country is escalating risks.

“The biggest concern is that suspected Ebola patients are leaving hospitals and fleeing to other areas, thereby increasing the risk of spreading the disease even more,” he said.

“I can say we are all relatively safe for now and strongly hope that we do not have to face this disaster.”

Woode said they are working on an awareness and education campaign with the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

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