Mali and Guinea: Ebola and displaced people – a dangerous combination

A Mali mother and child. Their country is threatened by Ebola.
A Mali mother and child. Their country is threatened by Ebola.

Across Mali and neighbouring Guinea, our team has been racing against the clock for the last few months, working to respond to two separate crises:

The West African Ebola outbreak continues to spread.

It has claimed 932 lives so far, making the deadliest occurrence since the virus first emerged in 1976.

At the same time, clashes between rebels and the Malian armed forces in Kidal and Ménaka in the north of Mali have forced more than 1,500 people from their homes.

A disease out of control

For a brief period in early May, instances of Ebola in Guinea were believed to be diminishing. But by the end of that month it was clear the crisis was far from under control.

New districts – including Kouroussa, where our team is – were affected and districts that had been calm for a while reported new cases.

Nobody wants to die alone 

People are often very unwilling to go to the isolation centres when they become ill.

We do our best to raise awareness but the stark truth is that they don’t want to be separated from their families to die alone.

This poses major risks as Ebola spreads rapidly once symptoms develop.

People who survive Ebola are frequently ostracised when they return to their communities.

Friends and work colleagues refuse to go near them, which is particularly hard to cope with when these survivors are often dealing with the grief of having lost several family members in quick succession.

How we are helping: training and protection

Save the Children is training teachers, health workers, nurses and local organisations on prevention measures against Ebola and distributed protective kits in schools.

To reach as many communities as possible, we have broadcast messages on the radio and through fliers, letting people know how they can help prevent against the virus.

But the situation is far from under control. We are working hard to scale up our activities: to reach more people, and eventually save more lives. Please help us do that by donating to our Emergency Fund.

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