Sunday, November 8, 2015

Stronger Together

The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has been declared over. The fight is done. Thousands of people in Sierra Leone and from around the world worked together to overcome the Ebola virus. The government, NERC (National Ebola Response Centre), Ministries, healthcare workers, community members, NGO workers and so many more people served and sacrificed to get us to this point. It is through collaboration and coordination and a lot of perseverance that we won this battle. 

The Ebola Response Consortium (ERC)*, of which Welbodi Partnership is a member, demonstrated the power of partnership throughout the outbreak. NGOs were able to join together to ensure coordination and collaboration with the aim of reaching one common goal: ending the Ebola outbreak. This film tells the amazing story of what can be achieved when people come together and work in unity. The work that the ERC has accomplished over the past year has been tremendous.  From surveillance, to infection prevention and control, to improving water and sanitation in health facilities, to safe and dignified burials, the ERC was able to work on all fronts to support the government of Sierra Leone in ending this outbreak.  The projects that Welbodi Partnership was involved with were not only crucial to stopping the chain of transmission within health facilities but also in laying a foundation for a stronger and better healthcare system in Sierra Leone. The work that has been done through the ERC will have a lasting impact beyond this Ebola outbreak and we look forward to continued collaboration throughout the recovery phase to improve healthcare in Sierra Leone.

*The ERC is a consortium of non-governmental organizations that is supporting the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) in Sierra Leone to respond to the Ebola outbreak in all districts of the country. The ERC is led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and comprised of eight member organizations – Action Contre la Faim (ACF), CARE International, Concern Worldwide, GOAL, King’s Health Partnership, the IRC, Save the Children and Welbodi Partnership– and seven partner organizations – ABC Development, eHealth, International Organization for Migration, M├ędicos del Mundo, Muloma Women’s Development Association (MUWODA), Oxfam GB and Solidarit├ęs International- who have pooled their collective technical and operational resources to support the MoHS in the Ebola response and recovery. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Remembering our Heroes

On the eve before the WHO declares the Ebola outbreak over in Sierra Leone, hundreds of people gather downtown for a vigil and march in honour of our fallen healthcare worker heroes.  As Ebola comes to an end, we remember those who have served their country and sacrificed their lives, and their families who still bear that loss.

During the first six months of the outbreak, healthcare workers were greatly affected by Ebola and many of them died as a result. In some places this led to a great sense of fear amongst both healthcare staff and patients alike and they were afraid to go to clinics and hospitals. Thankfully with time, training and supplies, health care workers gained confidence to treat patients again and likewise, patients and caregivers began to rebuild trust in the healthcare system. It will take time, but efforts will continue to be made during the next stage of recovery to restore that trust and empower communities to improve their health practices and health seeing behaviour.  

This evening was a time to reflect. A time of gratefulness towards the healthcare workers who have sacrificed their lives in service to their country. A time to celebrate how far Sierra Leone has come and the prospects of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone being declared over by morning. The evening was proceeded in true Sierra Leonean style with music, dancing, lights and laughter all the way from Campbell street to the country’s famous Cotton Tree. Spirits were high and the resilience of the Sierra Leonean people was clearly evident.

Many people have stepped up and fought this battle. Sadly, not all of them have made it to the end. They will be remembered and remain in our hearts forever.

Welbodi Partnership thanks the healthcare workers who have made great sacrifices to work during the Ebola epidemic. They have been brave and stood in the line of duty to ensure that health care in Sierra Leone continues to be available. Thank you to the staff of Ola During Children's Hospital, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, Rokupa Government hospital and Jenner Wright Clinic for your perseverance.