Ebola virus outbreak: The four pillars of Red Cross intervention

Topics: Africa, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
August 27, 2014

Red Cross volunteers in Guinea use a multi-faceted communication approach including face-to-face meetings, focus group discussion, radio programs, and community drama to help teach residents how to protect themselves from Ebola.

In recent weeks, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is mounting an even more intense response in West African communities where the Ebola epidemic is spreading or where the risk of an outbreak is highest.

This includes: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria for large-scale response and Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, Benin and Togo for Ebola preparedness and control measures.

Jean-Pierre Taschereau, Head of Emergency Operations for the IFRC, recently returned from Guinea, where he was helping lead humanitarian efforts in dealing with the Ebola outbreak. There are currently 600 trained volunteers in Guinea engaging at a community level through social mobilization activities, care for the deceased and contact tracing.

As Jean-Pierre (JP) describes, the IFRC is working to contain the outbreak of Ebola through four pillars of intervention: education, containment, contact tracing and psychosocial support.

JP says psychosocial support is a key component of this response for all involved in this outbreak.

“Not only to the people who have survived the virus and their families,” JP says, “but also to the volunteers and health staff in general who unfortunately are often stigmatized because of the fact they’re working with the disease.”

The Canadian Red Cross has mobilized four aid workers specializing in health and disaster response to the region to support response operations in affected communities. The Canadian Red Cross is on standby and ready to assist with additional supplies and personnel as required.

Canadians who wish to support Red Cross efforts can make a donation to the Canadian Red Cross West Africa Ebola Fund. This fund allows us to accelerate our response in disasters and directly help the most vulnerable during times of emergencies.

Your support provides us with dedicated funds to respond immediately following a disaster with essential supplies and trained personnel, so that we are able to save lives and ease suffering.

Photo credit: Idrissa Soumaré / IFRC

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