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World ORT International Cooperation in Guinea joins fight against Ebola

World ORT International Cooperation in Guinea joins fight against Ebola

By World ORT, October 29th, 2014

International Cooperation personnel in Guinea have been going door-to-door showing people how to avoid catching the Ebola virus which has claimed nearly 5,000 lives in West Africa in recent months.

Having undergone training with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, the six-strong team headed by ORT Guinea Director Alhassane Baldé has been travelling around Mamou, a predominantly Muslim region bordering Sierra Leone.

Ebola door-to-door awareness campaign

The World Health Organization (WHO) admits that it has been difficult to gather accurate data and the true number of victims in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia may be closer to 15,000. ORT Guinea is responding to a call by the United Nations' children's agency, UNICEF, for local NGOs to help stop the worst ever outbreak of the disease.

"We have been talking to groups of people at mosques as well as visiting more than a dozen families a day in their homes," Mr Baldé said. "We explain to them what the virus is, how it spreads, how to recognise its symptoms and provide practical advice and demonstrations of hygiene procedures to help them avoid catching it."

Ebola Guinea UNICEF World ORT prevention campaign

It has been particularly difficult to persuade local people not to bury the dead according to their religious custom in order to prevent the disease spreading - but the message is finally being accepted.

"Mamou's 700,000 people have so far not been directly affected by the epidemic - we are doing our best to keep it that way," Mr Baldé said.

Ebola awareness campaign

World ORTs International Cooperation has been active in Guinea since 1962, implementing a series of effective environmental, agricultural, literacy, income generation and vocational training programmes - notably the establishment of a National Forestry School with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

But the organisation's work has also included health initiatives such as the training of "Education Fellows" who are in charge of disseminating knowledge of AIDS to other educators and community leaders and of organising awareness-raising sessions on the disease in the prefectures of Dalaba and Mamou.

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