Stories & updates
As fears of Ebola spreading to DRC’s urban areas grow, Oxfam launches public awareness and hygiene programs
An Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed at least 25 since May 8th. While most reported cases have been contained to small rural areas, there is a high risk of it spreading nationally and into neighboring countries as cases are reported in urban areas.
As the deadly virus gripped Monrovia, Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo turned to local leaders to marshal support for a community-wide awareness campaign. Armed with knowledge, residents faced their fears, confronted the disease, and beat it back.
Threatened by Ebola in neighboring countries, Sidi Jaquite and his team of trusted health workers used their experience to spring into action to protect vulnerable communities.
How we're responding
The Ebola epidemic that has ravaged communities across Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea infected more than 28,000 people and has taken the lives of more than 11,000. Oxfam’s response to the outbreak has been focused on prevention—on keeping health workers safe by providing critical supplies and equipment, and on making sure those living on the front lines of this emergency have the knowledge they need to protect their families and communities.
Oxfam programs have reached around 1.3 million people.
In Sierra Leone and Liberia, we have provided dozens of health centers with water infrastructure (such as tanks and pipes) and medical equipment, including face masks, boots, gloves, chlorine and soap. We have built hundreds of community hand-washing stations and have provided burial teams and those that carry out contact tracing with kits containing masks, overalls, goggles, boots, gloves, chlorine, and body bags.
In nearby Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Mali, we are working closely with the governments on preparedness and prevention measures—work that has included raising awareness through signs, radio broadcasts, and door-to-door campaigns; installation of hand-washing stations and latrines; and distribution of hygiene kits.
The number of new cases across the region has dropped to near zero, and there is cause for optimism, but in the countries hardest hit by the epidemic, the damage to communities and fragile economies and health care systems has been immeasurable.
Oxfam's recovery plans in Liberia and Sierra Leone include providing cash grants to vulnerable families, rehabilitating water and sanitation facilities, and helping communities reduce the risk of future Ebola outbreaks.
But far more is needed. Oxfam has called on the international community to launch a multimillion-dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan" to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone get back on their feet after this devastating crisis.