After 42 days without any new cases, Guinea has been officially declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organisation. While Plan International welcomes this good news, we continue to call for caution.
According to Francis Sala-Diakanda, Country Director of Plan International in Guinea: “After long months of suffering, this news is most welcome for Guinea. However, it is important to note that this symbolic announcement should not call for relaxation. The example of Liberia is there to remind us that arriving at zero cases is one thing, but maintaining it needs vigilance and continuous monitoring.”
There has been a cumulative total of 3,807 suspected, probable and confirmed cases of Ebola, with 2,536 deaths in Guinea since the start of the outbreak in West Africa in February 2014.*
“This is an opportunity to pay tribute to victims and communities, but also to all national and international actors who have come together to tackle the disease and its consequences,” said Mr Sala-Diakanda.
COMMUNITIES AT THE CENTRE
Plan International has been at the forefront of the Ebola response working in partnership with the country’s national coordination structures.
Throughout its response in Guinea, Plan International has prioritised children suffering emotional and physical loss. Nearly 14,000 children affected by the Ebola virus, half of them girls, received psychosocial support under its child protection programme. Over 200,000 school-going children were supported in the affected areas, helping them to return to school safely.
Plan International repeatedly placed communities at the centre of its response focusing on massive social mobilisation campaigns conducted by community volunteers. This helped reduce the population’s resistance and helped them adopt preventive and protective measures.
Plan International also improved access to water and sanitation facilities in local health centres and schools. Food and non-food items were distributed to households and affected families whose income and activities were severely affected by Ebola.
“The country has been deeply affected by the Ebola outbreak. Continuing to meet the various existing needs is essential in the months and years to come and there is much to rebuild,” said Mr Sala-Diakanda.
“It is important to support children and communities during this recovery phase and allow them to recover from the terrible moments they have experienced. Financial and technical support from partners is vital and necessary so children and girls can continue to have access to education, health systems can be strengthened, protection mechanisms are strengthened at the community level, subsistence means are restored and capacities of communities in disaster risk reduction are improved.”
*Source: World Health Organisation