Presidential award for Ebola response
Friday, 18 December 2015
Save the Children’s role in fighting to contain and eradicate the Ebola Virus (EVD) across Sierra Leone has been recognised in an award personally approved by the country’s president, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
Save the Children was nominated for the award by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, and the accolade will be officially accepted at a ceremony on Sierra Leone’s National Hero’s Day today in Freetown.
“We feel honoured to receive the Ebola Award from His Excellency the President,” says Jamie Jamieson, Acting Country Director, Save the Children in Sierra Leone. “This is not only in recognition of Save the Children and our partners’ work, but also the important contribution of Sierra Leoneans who worked closely with us and our volunteer medical staff, all of whom came together to fight against the spread of this devastating disease.
“It shows that in the very worst of situations, when the most vulnerable are in such desperate need, we stand ready to do everything in our power to help alleviate suffering and make the world a safer place for children.”
From the beginning of the Ebola Virus outbreak in March 2014 – when the first Ebola case was confirmed in the Kailahun District in the east of the country – Save the Children was one of the first humanitarian agencies to react to the outbreak by raising awareness of the disease, and training teachers and community health workers, among others, to spread the word on the importance of hygiene practices, such as hand washing.
A 92-bed Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC), funded by the UK Government, built by British Army Royal Engineers, and run by Save the Children, was opened in Kerrytown, on the outskirts of Freetown, in November 2014.
“Despite huge logistical and human resource challenges, at full capacity we had more than 200 medical staff, including a full Cuban medical team and volunteers from the National Health Service in the UK, operating in very challenging conditions,” Jamieson says.
“Save the Children also delivered comprehensive training to over 1,500 community health workers to help raise awareness of the disease and how to prevent it from spreading.”
Today, as the response shifts from emergency to recovery, the agency is now focused on rehabilitating communities, ensuring that children are able to return to school, and working with government ministries to support the establishment of a more resilient health system.
“There is a long road to recovery ahead but Save the Children will remain fully committed to the rehabilitation process to ensure children survive, learn and are protected.”
Notes to editors
- Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free by the World Health Organisation, (WHO), on November 7th, 2015.
- Save the Children established and operated the Kerrytown ETC in cooperation with the Sierra Leonean Government’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Public Health England, the UK Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development
- Save the Children has worked in Sierra Leone since 1987. The agency currently works in three districts, Western Urban including Freetown, Kailahun, and Pujehun, and focuses on child protection, education, newborn & child survival, and child rights governance.