The British Red Cross will this week deploy two more specialist delegates to West Africa as governments and aid agencies scale up efforts to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the region.
A health delegate and logistics expert are being sent by the charity to Sierra Leone and Liberia respectively, to support Red Cross staff and volunteers raise awareness about Ebola prevention. The delegates will also work alongside other agencies and the Ministries of Health to reach out to more people in communities affected by the Ebola outbreak.
British Red Cross spokesperson Mandeep Mudhar, said: "The Red Cross has already deployed several teams and delegates to the affected countries since the beginning of the outbreak. We know from experience that our health and hygiene promotion work makes a real difference to communities and has helped curb the spread of Ebola.
"Red Cross teams are taking to the streets and villages daily, educating the public through songs and theatre performances, on how to respond to the outbreak their communities," Mandeep explained.
According to the World Health Organisation, Ebola has killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since it was first detected in March. Highly contagious, its symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding. There is currently no cure or vaccine for the Ebola virus, although its spread can be prevented.
The British Red Cross is contributing towards some key interventions across the affected countries, including dead body management and contact tracing in addition to hygiene promotion. Red Cross operations on the ground, yesterday received a boost as the UK government announced the release of £2 million to the charity and other agencies in West Africa.
The DFID funding will contribute to activities focussed on improving public understanding of the disease through increasing media messaging and direct engagement with communities. The money will also be used to expand the investigation, tracing and treatment of new cases.
Read the DFID Statement here.