Via ReliefWeb, a report from the NGO Plan: Information has become central to containing Ebola. These reports are usually infomercials for the NGO, but this one at least offers some info. Excerpt:
Awareness among the local population has become central to containing Ebola as the disease continues to spread in parts of West Africa, says Plan.
The organisation said that people must be urgently made aware of public health measures they can take to protect themselves from the lethal virus.
Due to lack of appropriate information rumours are rife in the affected areas further complicating the response by government and humanitarian agencies.
“We are racing against the deadly virus. Appropriate and timely information can save lives from Ebola,” said Adama Coulibaly, Plan’s Regional Director for West & Central Africa.
“There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola. But simple measures such as handwashing can contribute to stopping the infection and its spread. We must act fast by ensuring that correct information reaches communities across affected countries, without any further delay,” he added.
The Ebola haemorrhagic fever is among the most virulent diseases known to humankind. So far 83 deaths have been recorded in Guinea, including fatalities in the capital Conakry. The disease has also spread to neighbouring Liberia with one confirmed death due to Ebola.
In affected areas, communities have witnessed horrific scenes of people dying with signs of bloody vomit and severe bleeding. The severity of infection and associated symptoms, have also fuelled rumours as people are coming up with their own explanations behind sudden deaths.
Stretched to the limits
“On Tuesday last week, everyone fled the local market in one of the towns as the news of Ebola spread. Some people are so frightened that they think that Ebola has already saturated the air they inhale,” said a local resident in Voinjama, the capital of Lofa County in Liberia which as recorded the highest number of suspected Ebola cases in Liberia so far.
“The affected countries are at the bottom of Human Development Index and already face severe challenges with their fragile health and sanitation systems. If Ebola continues to spread without active prevention it can easily overwhelm their coping capacities which are already stretched to their limits,” said Coulibaly.