By Scott MacMillan – Communications and Outreach, BRAC USA
Work continues under emergency circumstances by BRAC in both Liberia and Sierra Leone. During an initial, intensive outreach campaign by community health promoters, funded in part by GlobalGiving donors, local health workers spread the word, aided by posters and flyers, about the steps people can take to stop the virus’s spread. Communities are better equipped as a result.
Since then, the rapid spread of the disease has pushed us into a new phase. Most of our staff of 907 – the vast majority of whom are Liberians and Sierra Leoneans, with a small contingent of Bangladeshis from BRAC headquarters in Dhaka – are now on paid leave. With both countries under state of emergency, widespread person-to-person contact, normally the best method of spreading health awareness in remote communities, is no longer advisable.
A core crew remains at country offices, supporting authorities in prevention efforts. We continue to push out Ebola-related messaging that doesn’t require direct contact or group meetings. In Sierra Leone, we are pushing our public service announcements via radio in three local languages – Krio, Mende and Temne – airing in all 12 districts of Sierra Leone. We’ve also provide items like soap, chlorine, buckets with attached taps, surgical gloves, phenolic disinfectant and and face masks, to be directed by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to the most severely seriously affected areas. We require further funding to continue this work.