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West Africa Ebola Outbreak 2014/15

New Zealand nurse, Sharon Mackie, dresses local staff in personal protective equipment (PPE) in the new IFRC Ebola treatment centre outside of Kenema, Sierra Leone, September 2014 (Photo by New Zealand Red Cross)

New Zealand NGO response to the Ebola outbreak

NDRF members are working with partners to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The following NDRF members have launched public appeals to support their response efforts:

Childfund - Childfund New Zealand have lanuched an appeal to assist the 3,000 children orphaned by the Ebola virus. Childfund Liberia, in collaboration with Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, has opened the first dedicated children’s Interim Care Centre in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, for children who have lost one or both parents to Ebola. Additional centres in other areas will be established to support the increasing number of children affected.

Christian World Services New Zealand - CWS New Zealand, working as a part of the ACT Alliance in Liberia and Sierra Leone, is focusing on educating local communities through the church and mosque leaders on the correct prevention measures and caring for those ostracised because of infection. As a part of the relief effort, the Act Alliance is also distributing food in areas of need, and chlorine solution, as well as providing hospital care to those infected by Ebola.

Oxfam New Zealand - Oxfam New Zealand is working in six districtsin Sierra Leone, and six urban areas in Liberia and are also launching prevention programs in Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Oxfam emergency response teams are helping people get urgent treatment, providing water for treatment and isolation centres, and supplying protective equipment and hygiene kits. Oxfam are helping communities to protect themselves from the epidemic through radio, print, and door-to-door messengers.

UNICEF New Zealand - UNICEF New Zealand has launched an appeal to reach 5.5 million people with health messages, provide care and support for children and their families hit by Ebola, provide protective equipment and medical supplies for hospitals and health workers. Contrbiutions can be made through their website.

Rotary New Zealand World Community Service - Rotary New Zealand are raising funds to construct an isolation and quarantine ward for Bo Hospital in Sierra Leone. Rotary NZ and Rotary Australia are collaborating on this project and are seeking NZ $45,000 to build the wards. Visit the website for details of how to donate.

Save the Children New Zealand - Save the Children New Zealand are supporting partners in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea in Ebola response such as building Ebola Treatment Units and training health care workers and in Mali and Cote d'Ivoire scaling up preparedness and prevention activities.

TEAR Fund - TEAR Fund together with our partners in Liberia (one of the worst-affected countries) we are working tirelessly to provide the most effective aid to those affected. We are supporting medical staff and healthcare workers active on the ground, providing hygiene kits and teaching vulnerable communities methods of avoiding contracting this disease.

An important message from the NZ Ministry of Health (26 November 2014):

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest to date in terms of cases and geographic spread – with the death toll recently exceeding 5,000. It has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization. The Director-General of the WHO has described the current outbreak as the “largest, most complex and most severe (Ebola outbreak) we’ve ever seen” and spoken of the need for a coordinated and scaled-up global response to help the affected countries stop ongoing transmission. New Zealanders have already been involved in the international response via NGOs, and others have been in contact with the Ministry of Health asking how they can be part of a New Zealand response.

The Ministry of Health acknowledges the valuable contribution being made by volunteers who are willing to give of their time and expertise. It is important that anyone intending to travel to West Africa to assist with the global response is aware of the potential risks, and the steps in place to manage them, such as the protocol which has been developed for those returning to New Zealand. Aid organisations intending to deploy individuals to assist in the Ebola response - who will then return to New Zealand on completion of their deployment – are encouraged to discuss their plans with the Ministry of Health. The Ministry will assist in planning and coordination of the individual’s arrival back into New Zealand. This will include a 21 day monitoring period from the date they leave the Ebola affected country, with daily contact from their local public health unit.

For further information please contact the Ministry via: