Stop Ebola Campaign
Planet Aid together with its in-country partner ADPP Guinea-Bissau have launched a new Ebola preparedness and sensitization initiative in Guinea-Bissau in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
The action is occurring on two critical regions: the Gabú Province and the Bolama-Bijagós Archipelago. Gabú shares a 500 km border (and numerous crossing points) with neighboring Guinea. The Bolama-Bijagós Archipelago is where fisherman from Guinea often land to sell their catch.
Planet Aid is working closely with ADPP Guinea-Bissau to obtain the necessary equipment and resources to carry out a large-scale campaign that will educate the population about Ebola and prepare the local authorities and clinics to deal with an outbreak. The campaign is expected to reach approximately 280,000 individuals over a 6-month period.
Farmers Allied with the Fight
ADPP has been utilizing its rural networks, trained staff, and cadre of volunteers to build prevention capacity in the country. For example, ADPP has been carrying out a Planet Aid–supported Farmers' Club project in the Empada District near the Bolama-Bijagós Archipelago to help improve crop output and food security for local farmers. The Farmers' Clubs project leaders are also educating local communities about Ebola.
“In order for farmers to reach food security, they and their families need to be in good health,” explains Bacar Coma, one of the project leaders. “If Ebola reaches Guinea-Bissau, they need to know how to keep themselves safe and prevent spreading the disease.”
Project leaders and volunteers are spreading the word about what Ebola is, how to prevent it, and what to do if someone thinks they might have it. And approximately, 2,000 families across 35 communities have been warned to refrain from eating animal carriers of the disease and to encourage good community health practices, such as washing hands with soap or ash and boiling water before drinking it.
"Right now, WHO’s priority for preparedness are the countries at potential highest risk of Ebola outbreaks. These countries, near those at the epicentre of the outbreak, include Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau and Mali." —Dr Isabelle Nuttall, Director, Global Capacities, Alert and Response, World Health Organization
Planet Aid is a long-time supporter of development initiatives in Guinea-Bissau implemented by ADPP Guinea-Bissau, which has been working in the country since the early 1980s.
Experience in community mobilization and empowerment, individual training and education related to infectious diseases, and vital relationship with all stakeholders (both national and local) will be essential to reaching populations vulnerable to the spread of Ebola. The success of Nigeria and Senegal in halting the transmission of Ebola highlights the critical importance of preparedness. Key factors in preventing the spread of the disease in both countries included strong political leadership, early detection and response, public awareness campaigns, and strong support from partner organizations. Although the epidemic has been on the wane, the work ADPP and Planet Aid are doing will help create the knowledge base to prepare villagers against future outbreaks, and create more awareness about proper disease prevention practices.
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