The Malian government yesterday (23rd) confirmed the first case of Ebola in the country. It reported that a two-year-old girl who tested positive for the virus had come from neigbouring Guinea. Mali is now the sixth West African nation to be hit by the virus.
In preparation for an outbreak in Mali, Plan has been participating in local and national meetings with health authorities. Plan has also stared the purchasing process for the acquisition of disinfectants, protection kits and hand washing materials to be provided to health districts in Mali. In addition, Plan has provided thousands of information posters to raise awareness and inform of best practice.
Plan Ireland head of programmes, Paddy Austin, who has just returned from Mali said;
“In recent months, Plan has been monitoring the situation in Mali and those nations bordering the worst hit countries. We have been making preparations and meeting with key officials to put arrangements in place for a response should Ebola reach Mali. This latest development further highlights the seriousness of the Ebola situation in West Africa.
Plan is already responding across the three worst hit countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia by disseminating public health information and providing material support to contain the spread of the disease. We have printed and distributed thousands of health promotion brochures across infected areas. We are disseminating prevention messages via TV, radio and SMS. We are also training volunteers to disinfect public and household latrines, treating the homes of suspected cases, and setting up hand washing systems in schools and public areas.
Every day, families are losing loved ones and children are at risk of death or being orphaned. But something can be done. For instance, for as little as €25, a hygiene kit for 25 families will mean children can wash and disinfect, €29 will mean that 100 people have a secure hand washing facility while €49 can provide a protective suit for staff working in treatments centres.
Plan has been operating in Mali since 1976, helping poor children to access their rights to health, education, protection and livelihoods.
More than 4,800 people have died of Ebola – mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.