As the world battles the worst Ebola outbreak on record, basic health care systems in the affected African countries are crumbling under the pressure. In response, the United Nations Children’s Fund, also known as UNICEF, is ramping up its fight beyond the front lines. CCTV America’s Liling Tan reports.
As more people die from the Ebola epidemic now, UNICEF has declared that basic healthcare cannot be the next casualty.
Fears over Ebola kept frightened doctors and nurses away from work and prevented the ill from seeking help at medical centers.
Dr. Heather Papowitz, Emergency Health Advisor at UNICEF, said that it weakened healthcare systems in the affected countries and it’s threatening to dramatically raise the number of illnesses and deaths from common diseases.
In response, UNICEF has ramped up emergency relief, airlifting 68 metric tons (149,914 pounds) of health and emergency supplies to the Liberian capital of Monrovia, including 27 tons (59,525 pounds) of chlorine, 450,000 pairs of latex gloves, IV fluid, oral rehydration salts and ready-to-use therapeutic food.
Some of the supplies will go to health workers fighting Ebola on the frontlines. Others will be distributed to health facilities nationwide suffering from a shortage in basic healthcare materials.
The organization and its partners have also delivered 2 million bars of soap and more than 600,000 bottles of chlorine to households, health centers and schools in Liberia and Guinea.
Providing reliable information to frightened communities to dispel myths and correct misconceptions is important, so that they can work with authorities to fight the outbreak now and in the future. The key message from UNICEF is that Ebola is a disease that can be contained