International health and humanitarian organization on frontlines of combating the spread of deadly disease
SAN DIEGO CA (July 29, 2014) – As the Ebola outbreak in Liberia significantly worsens, PCI (Project Concern International) is actively working with its partners, including ACDI/VOCA under a USAID funded Title II program called LAUNCH, to respond to the emergency. PCI is working directly with communities to raise awareness about the outbreak to prevent further spreading of the disease and both purchasing and distributing critically needed emergency supplies locally, as well as shipping a donation of supplies from the US to Liberia. These supplies will help control the spread of the disease that is impacting the most heavily populated areas of the country.
With a large programmatic presence in Liberia, PCI will continue to be very involved in the response to the Ebola outbreak in the region. The current epidemic remains serious: the total number of confirmed, suspected, and probable cases stands at 196 (up from 133 on July 10), with 116 confirmed/suspected deaths (up from 80 on July 10).
PCI is reaching over 45,000 highly at risk people in Liberia with essential awareness and education on Ebola—through existing community-based platforms such as Mothers’ Groups, disaster risk reduction committees, clinics, and farmers’ groups. In addition, PCI is providing the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Work (MOHSW) with technical and logistical support to address the epidemic in the capital city, Monrovia, as well as in Bong County.
“Community awareness is vital to preventing further transmissions,” said PCI’s Liberian Country Director Jolene Mullins. “Without the necessary training and materials to practice strict sanitary and infection control procedures, Ebola will spread, including to those who are in charge of treating and preventing the disease.”
An assessment of the outbreak conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) identified a number of factors contributing to the continuation of the outbreak, including “low coverage of contact tracing; persisting denial and resistance in the community; weak data management; inadequate infection prevention and control practices, especially in peripheral health facilities; and weak leadership and coordination at sub-national levels” (WHO Ebola Virus Disease Update 18 July 2014). In addition, limited resources and personnel capacity are hindering the response. PCI Liberia is already helping address many of these issues utilizing existing platforms and limited resources. However, much more is needed in order to contain the spread of this horrific disease.
The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), which, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding. Ebola spreads from human-to-human via contact with bodily fluids containing the virus. Ebola can also be spread through contact with an object contaminated with infected secretions.
PCI provides humanitarian assistance to people affected by disasters and complex emergencies; helps governments, local organizations, and communities better manage risk and respond to emergencies when they arise; and integrates efforts to help reduce vulnerability to disasters into all of its ongoing programs.
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