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ReliefWeb - Updates on Sierra Leone

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    Source: Government of Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone


    • Total Survived and Discharged Cases = 4,047


    • New Confirmed cases = 0 as follows:
      Kailahun = 0, Kenema = 0, Kono = 0 Bombali = 0, Kambia = 0, Koinadugu = 0, Port Loko =0, Tonkolili = 0 Bo = 0, Bonthe = 0, Moyamba = 0 Pujehun = 0 Western Area Urban = 0, Western Area Rural = 0, Missing = 0


    • Cumulative confirmed cases = 8,697 as follows:
      456 Kailahun = 565, Kenema = 503, Kono = 253 Bombali = 1,049, Kambia = 253, Koinadugu = 109, Port Loko = 1,484, Tonkolili = Bo = 314, Bonthe = 5, Moyamba = 209, Pujehun = 31 Western Area Urban = 2,285, Western Area Rural = 1,164, Missing = 14


    • Total cumulative confirmed death is 3,586

     Probable cases = 287

    • Probable deaths = 208

    • Suspected cases = 4,584

    • Suspected deaths = 158

    Ebola Virus Disease Situation Report
    The Ministry of Health and Sanitation

    For more information, please contact:
    District level: District Health Management Team
    National level: Directorate of Disease Prevention and Control, E.mail: Website: or Mobile: 117 (Toll free)

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    Source: Government of Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Freetown, Aug. 25, 2015 (SLENA) – The Fourah Bay Community Abdul Karim Kamara (AKK) Foundation has been officially launched by Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation and Senior Community Member Madam Madina Rahman at a ceremony held at the Bishop Johnson Memorial Secondary School in Freetown.

    The Founder of the organization and son of the soil of the Fourah Bay Community, Mr. Abdul Karim Kamara based in the United State of America in a bid to unite strategic areas within the community to ensure community participation in development, as well as creating avenues for youth empowerment, promote hygiene and sanitation, income generating programmes and education, have so far been making both financial and material support to the community.

    The Deputy Minister Madina Rahman is the Lead Focal Person and Superior for the AKK Foundation as one of the persons coordinating the activities of the Foundation.

    Addressing a cross section of the community Madina Rahman observed that life is not easy for community members as there are many challenges for parents in coping with their constraints.

    She encouraged her people to engage in income generation activities and admonished the youths to take up skilled training to beef up their capacity in various fields.

    Madam Madina underscored the importance of education and re-emphasized the need for parents to send their child to cope with education as one of the challenges-“Government alone will not be able to do everything in terms of support”, the Deputy Minister said.

    The Foundation she maintained is committed to help the community with their support to building a sound healthy community.

    The Community Councilor Ward 368 and Constituency 103 Mr. Samba Turay lauded Madam Rahman for her continued invaluable assistance to the community and described her as one of the brains behind the Foundation.

    Mr. Turay in a similar tone praised Abdul Karim Kamara for the support given to the community hoping that God will continue to give them the strengths to salvage the community.

    The community he said has produced very important personalities whom they should follow as role models and pledged to give the Foundation total support.

    Donation of school bags and other education materials formed high point of the ceremony.

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Italy, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America


    • There were 3 confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in the week to 23 August, all of which were reported from Guinea. No new confirmed cases were reported from Sierra Leone for the second consecutive week. Overall case incidence has held at 3 confirmed cases per week for 4 consecutive weeks. In addition, the number of contacts under observation continues to fall, from over 800 on 16 August to approximately 600 on 23 August throughout 4 prefectures in Guinea and 2 districts in Sierra Leone. All contacts associated with the recent cluster of cases in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone, have now completed the 21-day follow-up period. However, there remains a significant risk of further transmission. All 3 cases in Guinea this week were reported from the capital, Conakry, and have generated a substantial number of high-risk contacts.
      One of the cases, who was detected after post-mortem testing of a community death, was one of 35 contacts to have been lost to follow-up in Conakry in the past 6 weeks.

    • All of the 3 confirmed cases reported from Guinea in the week to 23 August were identified in the Ratoma area of the capital, Conakry. The first case, a male taxi driver in his early 40s, was not a registered contact, and is thought to have worked for a short time in Conakry whilst symptomatic. Efforts are ongoing to trace any passengers who may be contacts. A male health worker who was registered as a contact after treating the taxi driver at a private clinic subsequently also tested positive for EVD. Over 40 contacts from the private clinic and household have been identified so far. The remaining case, a woman in her early 40s, was a registered contact of a previous case in Conakry but was lost to follow-up. Investigations suggest she travelled outside Conakry to consult a traditional healer in the prefecture of Dubreka before her death. She was subsequently identified as an EVD-positive community death after post-mortem testing. 600 contacts were under follow-up on 23 August in 4 western prefectures (Conakry, Coyah, Dubreka, and Forecariah), compared with approximately 800 contacts in 3 prefectures the previous week.

    • No new cases were reported from Liberia in the week to 23 August. All contacts in Liberia have now completed their 21-day follow-up period. The last 2 patients with EVD in Liberia were discharged after completing treatment and testing negative for EVD for a second time on 23 July. Surveillance continues to be strengthened, with approximately 800 samples tested for EVD in the week to 23 August.

    • No cases were reported from Sierra Leone in the week to 23 August: the second consecutive week without a confirmed case. The last case to be diagnosed with EVD completed treatment and was discharged from an Ebola treatment centre on 24 August after testing negative twice for EVD. The number of contacts under follow-up has declined from 72 contacts across 3 districts (Tonkolili, Western Area Urban, and Western Area Rural) on 19 August to 29 contacts in Western Area Urban (Freetown) and Western Area Rural on 23 August, after all contacts associated with the Tonkolili cluster of cases completed follow-up.

    • For the first time in 4 weeks a new health worker infection was reported in the week to 23 August. The case was reported from Conakry, Guinea. There have been a total of 881 confirmed health worker infections reported from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since the start of the outbreak, with 512 reported deaths.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone


    On 20 August, a vehicle with humanitarian workers was attacked in Bambari and one staff injured. The vehicle was on its way to retrieve casualties from the clashes in Bornou neighbourhood, when a mob intercepted and attacked its occupants. Renewed intercommunal tensions in Bambari have resulted in 10 civilians dead and 8 injured. The situation on the ground remains very tense and all humanitarian activities in Bambari have been temporarily suspended pending a reassessment of the security of the operating environment.


    Over the last week, seven new sites hosting internally displaced people were reported in the Lake region, bringing the total number of IDP sites to 22. Between 21 July and 21 August, at least 41,000 people had already been displaced. The additional number of IDPs in the seven new sites remains unknown, as evaluations have not yet been carried out. Most important needs include shelters, food security, WASH, and health.


    On 20 August, the ruling party and opposition coalition signed a political agreement towards ending political tensions. Local elections were planned for 2014 but have been postponed due to the Ebola epidemic. The opposition parties claim that the Presidential elections, which are due to be held on 11 October, should not be held before the local ones without consultation.


    The political crisis in Guinea-Bissau continues, whilst no further protests were reported in the past week. The appointment of a new Prime Minister was condemned by the Parliament because he was not put forward by the party which won the last legislative elections. The UN expressed concerns that the crisis risks to undermine progress and destabilize the political situation.


    The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) announced that they will suspend their participation in a committee monitoring the peace agreement. The agreement was signed in June 2015 by the Government and rebel groups to end the conflict in northern Mali but there has been a recent spike in violence.


    On 23 August, Ban Ki-moon began a two-day visit to Nigeria. After meeting with President Buhari, he pledged support for Nigeria's efforts to counter Boko Haram and tackle the causes of militancy in the country's northeast, where he described humanitarian conditions as particularly worrying.


    The number of cases of Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone remains at zero, while this week reported three new cases in Guinea. Presently, six EVD patients are receiving treatment in Guinea and several more suspected cases. All new cases for the past month are from known chains of transmission, permitting easier case management and tracking.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone


    Le 20 août, un véhicule avec des travailleurs humanitaires a été attaqué à Bambari faisant un blessé. Le véhicule était en route pour récupérer les victimes des affrontements dans le quartier de Bornou, quand une foule l’a intercepté et attaqué ses occupants. Des tensions intercommunautaires renouvelées à Bambari ont causé la mort de 10 civils et fait 8 blessés. La situation sur le terrain reste très tendue et toutes les activités humanitaires à Bambari ont dû être temporairement suspendues en attendant une réévaluation de la sécurité de l'environnement opérationnel.


    Au cours de la dernière semaine, sept nouveaux sites abritant des personnes déplacées ont été signalés dans la région du lac, ce qui porte le nombre total de sites de déplacés à 22. Entre le 21 juillet et le 21 août, au moins 41 000 personnes avaient déjà été déplacées. Le nombre supplémentaire de personnes déplacées dans les sept nouveaux sites reste inconnu, car les évaluations n’ont pas encore été réalisées. Les besoins les plus urgents comprennent les abris, la sécurité alimentaire, l’hygiène et l’assainissement et la santé.


    Le 20 août, le parti au pouvoir et la coalition de l'opposition ont signé un accord pour mettre fin aux tensions politiques. Les élections locales étaient prévues pour 2014 mais ont été reportées en raison de l'épidémie d'Ebola. Les partis d'opposition soutiennent que les élections présidentielles, qui doivent être tenues le 11 octobre, ne devraient pas avoir lieu avant les élections locales sans consultation.


    La crise politique en Guinée-Bissau continue, malgré l’absence de nouvelles manifestations depuis la semaine dernière. La nomination d'un nouveau Premier ministre a été condamnée par le Parlement car le parti qui a remporté les dernières élections législatives n’avait pas soumis sa candidature. L'ONU a exprimé son inquiétude concernant les risques que la crise ne sape les progrès accomplis jusque-là et ne déstabilise la situation politique.


    La Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA) a annoncé qu'elle va suspendre sa participation au comité de suivi de l'accord de paix. L'accord a été signé en juin 2015 entre le gouvernement et les groupes rebelles pour mettre fin au conflit dans le nord du Mali, mais il y a eu une récente hausse de la violence.


    Le 23 août, Ban Ki-moon, a débuté une visite de deux jours au Nigéria. Après une rencontre avec le président Buhari, il s’est engagé à soutenir les efforts du Nigéria dans la lutte contre Boko Haram et contre les causes de militantisme dans le nord du pays, où il a décrit des conditions humanitaires particulièrement inquiétantes.


    Le nombre de cas d'Ebola au Libéria et en Sierra Leone reste à zéro, alors que cette semaine, trois nouveaux cas ont été signalés en Guinée. Actuellement, six patients MVE sont traités en Guinée ainsi que plusieurs cas suspects. Les chaînes de transmission de tous les nouveaux cas sont connues, ce qui permet un meilleur suivi des cas.

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Sierra Leone

    **Sierra Leone celebrated an important milestone on Monday, 24 August 2015. For the first time in more than a year, there are no people being treated for Ebola virus disease and no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country.*

    Surrounded by singing, dancing and clapping health-care workers, Adama Sankoh, palm oil trader, was released from the Makeni Ebola treatment unit. In the ceremony held to mark the final Ebola case, the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, described Madame Sankoh's release as "the beginning of the end of Ebola."

    “Ebola nor don yaet” (Ebola is not yet finished) the President told Madame Sankoh as he handed her a certificate confirming that she was now negative for Ebola virus. He asked Madame Sankoh to remind her friends and family to call the Ebola hotline immediately if anyone in their community develops symptoms of Ebola or dies at home.

    Madame Sankoh told the gathering of health-care workers, Ebola survivors, leaders of national and district Ebola response teams and representatives of the agencies working to fight Ebola that she had learned about the disease the hard way. Now, she said, she knows that safe burial and thorough handwashing is essential for protecting against Ebola virus disease.

    While the mood was celebratory, President Koroma reminded the gathering that Ebola transmission would not be considered ended in Sierra Leone "until the WHO declares we have gone 42 days with no case." The 42-day period begins on Tuesday, 25 August.

    Even then, said President Koroma, Ebola could not be considered over until every country in the 'sub-region' made up of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had gone 42 days with no case after the last confirmed case had been discharged from treatment or, if they had died, safely buried.

    Dr Anders Nordström, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone said "This is an important milestone for Sierra Leone. But the hard work that got Sierra Leone to this point has to continue."

    "Surveillance, searching for cases, notifying any deaths in the community, testing anyone with Ebola symptoms, all must continue intensively. And the community involvement that has led us to this point must continue as well."

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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

    Snapshot 11 August – 25 August 2015

    Haiti: Insecurity has increased since legislative elections. Violence and intimidation were reported at many polling stations and a second round of voting is planned, following low voter turnout. Food security has deteriorated as a result of prolonged drought conditions since the beginning of 2015: poor households in Sud, Sud-Est, Nord-Est and Artibonite will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes through December. Recent cholera rates are triple those of the comparable time period in 2014.

    Chad: Between 21 July and 21 August, over 41,000 people were displaced in the Lake Region because of the escalating number of attacks related to the Boko Haram insurgency and rapid deterioration of the security situation. The conflict has displaced 75,000 people since January.

    South Sudan: There are widespread reports of renewed clashes between government and rebels. Some humanitarian organisations have evacuated staff to safer areas. The conditions inside PoC camps continue to deteriorate following an influx of over 61,000 IDPs since 30 June. In Malakal PoC the number of diarrhoea cases arriving weekly has doubled and the number of malaria cases has tripled.

    Updated: 25/08/2015. Next update 01/09/2015.

    Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Weekly Highlights

    • IOM clinicians in collaboration with the Ebola Response Consortium are providing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) training support at Connaught, Princess Christian’s Maternity and Ola During Children’s Hospitals and have now trained 644 hospital personnel.

    • IOM and World Hope International held a one day conference on Cultural Burial Liaisons at the University of Makeni on 18 August with the participation of NERC, OFDA, WHO, District Coordinators from Kambia, Bombali, Port Loko and the Chief of Staff from Tonkolili.

    • IOM hosted an inter-agency cooperation workshop at the Lungi Airport Hotel on 18 August 2015 together with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s border health team (CDC) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Airport Authority’s Public Relations Office.

    • IOM mobile teams concluded three separate trainings across Bombali district for 108 participants coming from community task forces, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, the Sierra Leone Police, DHMT health screeners, the motorcycle drivers’ union and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

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    Source: UN Country Team in Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

    UN Agency Updates


    From August 10-11 IOM Sierra Leone welcomed Mr. Mohammed Abdiker, Director - Department of Operations and Emergencies and Dr. Davide Mosca, Director - Migration Health Division, at IOM HQ Geneva as well as representatives from the IOM Regional Office in Dakar on a consultative mission. High level meetings were held with the UN Resident Coordinator, WHO Country Representative, and Minister of Health, US CDC and USAID OFDA.

    On 15 August 2015, a delegation from Freetown including Head of Office, Sanusi Savage, Emergency Coordinator, Jon Baker and Health and Humanitarian Border Management Project Manager, Ben Potter traveled to Kambia to attend the official opening of the IOM Kambia sub-office which has been in operation since June. The ceremony was attended by over 50 IOM Kambia staff who work on the HHBM and Emergency Interim Care Kits projects.

    IOM clinicians in collaboration with the Ebola Response Consortium are providing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) training support at Connaught, Princess Christian’s Maternity and Ola During Children’s Hospitals and have now trained 535 hospital personnel.

    IOM and World Hope International will hold a one day conference on Cultural Burial Liaisons at the University of Makeni on 18 August 2015.

    IOM Bombali’s Flow Monitoring Point and two Vehicle Checkpoints in Sella Limba and Tambaka Chiefdoms screened an average of 2,100 per day travelers crossing to and from Guinea, Kambia, Port Loko, Makeni and Koinadugu over the past week

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    Source: Government of Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone


    • Three cases reported in Guinea; no new cases in Sierra Leone and Liberia as of 25 August.

    • High-Level Panel visit to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    • Positive interim results of ring vaccination trials.

    • More work and resources required to ensure necessary support for Ebola survivors.

    • 600 police in Conakry trained to help monitor burials to prevent new transmission chains in Guinea.


    Population in the three countries 20.8 million Confirmed cases 27,988 Deaths 11,299


    US$6.6 billion Pledged (Sep 2014 – May 2015)
    $ 4.6 billion received (Sep 2014 – May 2015)

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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    DAKAR, 27 August 2015 (IRIN) - For the first time in more than a year, no one in either Sierra Leone or Liberia is being treated for Ebola, raising hopes that after more than 11,000 deaths and 28,000 infections throughout West Africa, the epidemic could finally be winding down.

    But 18 months after the World Health Organization (WHO) formally announced the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in March 2014, the last thing the region needs is another false dawn. Three months ago, Liberia was declared free of the virus only for new cases to emerge.

    Although there are just three known cases left in the region and just 629 potential contacts still under observation, the epidemic isn’t yet over.

    Here is where things stand:

    Cases: 3,792
    Deaths: 2,527

    Guinea is where the outbreak started in December 2013 with the death of a two-year-old boy. Now, 20 months on, much of the country is Ebola-free, including the southeastern forest region where the index case originated. But there remain a few pockets of resistance, particularly in and around the capital Conakry, where the only three current cases in the entire region were recorded during the week ending 23 August. Approximately 600 people are still under observation in Guinea and WHO warns that “there remains a significant risk of further transmission,” particularly because one of the positive cases – a taxi driver who was not previously on any contact lists – could have spread the virus to his passengers. Guinea is also the site of the first health worker infection in more than one month.

    Cases: 10,672
    Deaths: 4,808

    Last month, Liberia began a 42-day countdown to being Ebola-free, but not for the first time. The outbreak was previously declared over in the country on 9 May. But on 30 June, the Ministry of Health announced that a teenaged boy had tested positive in a small town on the outskirts of Monrovia. Over the next two weeks, five more cases were confirmed. The source of the second outbreak is still unknown, but Ebola response teams were able to quickly contain the flare-up. The last patient was discharged on 23 July and all potential contacts have since passed the 21-day incubation period. Liberia could once again be declared Ebola-free on 3 September.

    Sierra Leone
    Cases: 13,541
    Deaths: 3,952

    Sierra Leone has now gone two consecutive weeks without any new cases being reported. The last patients were sent home as survivors on 24 August. Just 29 contacts are still under a 21-day surveillance period, which is set to end on Saturday. If no new cases surface, Sierra Leone will be declared free of Ebola on 5 October.


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office
    Country: Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Serbia, Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United States of America, World

    Caribbean - Tropical Cyclone ERIKA
    • ERIKA continues moving north-west as a Tropical Storm. On 27 August, at 9.00 UTC, its centre was located between Grand Terre of Guadeloupe and the island of Antigua.
    • Over the next 24h, ERIKA’s intensity may slightly increase, but will remain a Tropical Storm. Its centre is forecast to pass near or over portions of the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands on 27 August and near or north of Puerto Rico early on 28 August UTC.
    • As of 27 August, Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches are in effect by NOAA for the Caribbean islands along ERIKA’s path.

    Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia – Refugee/migration crisis
    • The influx of refugees and migrants continues at a rate of over 1,000 daily, ECHO allocated €1.5 million in humanitarian funding to alleviate the plight of refugees and to respond to their basic protection needs while in transit through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. The period of stay in the two countries is likely to become prolonged, due to the adoption of strict controls at the Hungarian/Serbian border.
    • ECHO funding will contribute to the provision of essential assistance (food, water, hygiene, non-food items) at places of concentration of refugees and support the presence of international agencies at borders and registration points.

    DPRK – Tropical Cyclone GONI
    • Heavy rain, due to the passage of Tropical Cyclone GONI off the coast of the Korean peninsula, caused floods and landslides in the north-eastern part of the country.
    • As of 26 August, 40 people have reportedly died and over 11,000 affected in Rason city and North Hamgyong province.
    • Over the next 48h, moderate to locally heavy rain may affect north and northeastern DPRK.

    U.S.A. – Tropical Cyclone IGNACIO
    • IGNACIO continued moving north-west over the Pacific Ocean, strengthening into a Category 1 Hurricane. On 27 August, at 9.00 UTC, its centre was 1 920 km south-east of Hawaii’s Big Island.
    • Over the next 72h IGNACIO is forecast to continue moving north-west towards Hawaii, intensifying further, but remaining far from land.

    West Africa – Ebola outbreak
    • The second Ebola test result of the last patient in Sierra Leone was negative and she was officially discharged on 24 August. On 25 August, the Sierra Leonean government started the 42 days countdown to Ebola-free status.
    • Three new cases were reported in Guinea this week. No new cases have been reported in Liberia for 21 days.
    • Major organisations continue their calls to remain vigilant as considerable efforts are still needed to detect and interrupt all remaining transmission chains and to manage the residual risks, also in Ebola-free areas.

    Kenya – Cholera outbreak
    • The cholera outbreak continues spreading fast. Since end of December 2014, a total of 20 out of 47 counties have been affected, including areas traditionally not affected by the disease.
    • Cholera is spreading to areas where communities and staff awareness and preparedness is low. In addition, in counties of North-Eastern Kenya, the difficult security situation hinders access of health workers.
    • So far, a total of 5,625 cases and 117 deaths have been reported nationally.

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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office
    Country: Guinea, Sierra Leone

    • The Ebola test result of the last patient in Sierra Leone has been confirmed negative for second time, and she was officially discharged on 24 August. On 25 August, the Sierra Leonean government started the 42 days countdown to Ebola-free status.

    • Three new cases have been reported in Guinea this week and no new cases were reported in Liberia for 21 days.

    • Major organisations continue their calls to remain vigilant as there are still considerable efforts needed to detect and interrupt all remaining transmission chains, and to manage the residual risks also in Ebola-free areas.

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    Source: Concern Worldwide
    Country: Ghana, Sierra Leone

    Written by Eve Heyn

    Concern’s Innovations for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health initiative is using creative new approaches to help to spread the word about the importance of breastfeeding.

    Breastfeeding yields countless benefits for both mother and child. It provides children with a perfect balance of nutrients and antibodies for optimal growth and development.

    Concern’s Innovations for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health initiative has been working to educate families in Ghana and Sierra Leone about the importance of breastfeeding. In rural Ghana, our Community Benefits Health program targets not just pregnant women and new mothers, but also the influential people in their lives. This means reaching their husbands, mothers-in-laws, even village chiefs. The program encourages women to start breastfeeding as soon as their baby is born, and to continue breastfeeding exclusively for at least the next six months.


    To reach everyone throughout the village, community members have created colorful ways to convey the importance of breastfeeding and other essential practices to keep babies and pregnant mothers healthy. These include performances, air spots on the radio, design posters, and door-to-door visits from peer educators. Through this outreach, a grandmother might learn, for example, how giving newborns water can be dangerous, and advise her daughter to exclusively breastfeed to protect her new grandchild.

    In addition, men attend regular meetings where they learn about healthy pregnancy, childbirth and the significance of breastfeeding.

    What’s unique about this approach is that the entire community rallies behind women, encouraging and supporting new mothers to breastfeed.

    “The CBH project motivates commitment and behavior change among the whole community,” said Delabright Gle, Senior Program Manager for the CBH project, part of Concern Worldwide’s Innovations for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health initiative. “Men, women, and key decision makers in a woman’s life will understand and commit to prioritizing and supporting good maternal, newborn and child health care, including breastfeeding.”

    In Sierra Leone, which has one of the highest death rates in the world for pregnant mothers and newborns, breastfeeding is a key part of our Essential Newborn Care Corps.

    In this program, Traditional Birth Attendants, who used to deliver babies at home, now visit new mothers and pregnant women to advise them to seek care and give birth at health centers and to teach them about health, nutrition, and breastfeeding. The traditional birth attendants use song, dance and pictorial cards developed for this largely illiterate population.

    Because these former birth attendants are deeply respected by their communities, the women take the advice to heart to keep their babies healthy.

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