IFRC


Mali: Red Cross scales up response efforts following confirmed Ebola case

Published: 4 November 2014 21:52 CET

By Moustapha Diallo, IFRC

In late October, Mali became the fifth country in West Africa to confirm a case of the Ebola virus disease, after a two year old girl was brought to the country from Guinea, where her own mother had passed away earlier in the month.

The child and her grandmother travelled hundreds of kilometres by bus to Kayes, the main town in western Mali, where she was hospitalized with symptoms. The youngster passed away two days later.

The case sent health officials into overdrive, as they endeavoured to trace and monitor more than 100 people who may have come into contact with the little girl.

“With a confirmed Ebola case now in Mali, we are stepping up our activities, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and other partners,” says Dr Aissa Fall, regional health manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Sharing a border with Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak began ten months ago, means Mali had already been considered highly vulnerable to the virus’ spread. To prepare for this eventuality, IFRC released emergency funds in April, to help the Mali Red Cross Society conduct preparedness activities.

A total of 200 Red Cross volunteers have since been trained and mobilized in the at-risk communities of Bamako, Kayes, Koulikoro and Sikasso. They are visiting communities and using multi-faceted communication approaches including door-to-door visits, community theatre, and radio programming to help people understand how they can protect themselves against Ebola and prevent the spread of the virus.

“Borders are still very porous in West Africa with a number of people moving back and forth every day between the countries,” says Dr Fall. “That’s why we should strengthen cross-border epidemiological surveillance and also preparedness measures in both affected and non-affected countries.”

IFRC has launched six emergency appeals (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Nigeria, and one for coordination) and eight preparedness operations in response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak. As Senegal and Nigeria have successfully contained the outbreaks and have been declared free of the disease, Red Cross activities in these countries are focusing on communication and social mobilization with communities. For a complete breakdown of how the Red Cross is working to contain the Ebola outbreak, visit www.ifrc.org/ebola-crisis.




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