Christian Aid is responding to an outbreak of deadly Ebola, that started in Guinea in March and has now crossed the border into Sierra Leone, resulting in five confirmed deaths and a further 31 suspected cases.
Christian Aid partner the Methodist Church of Sierra Leone (MCSL), which works in the Eastern province of Kailahun district where all confirmed cases have occurred, is collaborating with the Council of Churches, Sierra Leone (CCSL) and the district health authorities to prevent the disease from spreading further.
Communities living in remote areas in the Kailahun district and in three further vulnerable districts - Pujehun, Koinadugu and Kambia are at particular risk.
As part of an ACT Alliance-funded rapid response, MCSL is helping to raise people's awareness of the disease, its symptoms and ways to prevent it by using radio, flyers in local languages and town criers on the streets.
Ebola is a highly contagious disease that kills up to 90 per cent of those it infects. It is transmitted through human-to-human contact and although there is no cure or vaccine, it is preventable. The initial infection comes from contact with a contaminated animal and symptoms include fever, vomiting, muscle aches and diarrhoea.
Michael Tettey, Acting Development Secretary of Methodist Church, Sierra Leone, said: 'We will also be working with selected Peripheral Health Units in the district to form and equip Ebola task force teams who can work on a community level, going house-to-house to spread knowledge. It is vital we do all we can to prevent the spread of this deadly disease.
'It's a race against the clock to respond quickly and contain it as there is no cure and the mortality rate is so high.'
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1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
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