Responding to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa
In November 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. This followed a devastating period for the country, during which 3,956 people lost their lives.
Confirmation of the end of the outbreak in Sierra Leone represented a key milestone in national and international efforts to eradicate Ebola from the three countries in West Africa - Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea - which were most affected by the disease.
Through the team at our Embassy in Freetown and our sub-office in Monrovia, Irish NGOs, volunteers and members of the Irish Defence Forces deployed to Sierra Leone, Ireland played an active role in combatting the Ebola outbreak there.
Irish Aid’s contribution included provision of over €28.9 million to Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, including through NGOs, throughout the 2014-2015 period. We funded Ebola treatment facilities in Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as contact- tracing, community sensitization and ambulance fleet management initiatives, among other activities.
In Sierra Leone, where teenage pregnancies increased during the Ebola outbreak, Irish Aid helped to ensure access to appropriate healthcare and formal education for pregnant schoolgirls. We also supported nutrition interventions to mitigate the effects of Ebola on the most vulnerable households. In Liberia, we worked with the Government to develop a more robust, effective and accountable health system.
Rapid response systems have since been put in place in Sierra Leone and Liberia to help contain any future Ebola outbreaks and reduce the risk of future epidemics. Both countries have still a long road to travel in recovering from the devastating effects of Ebola and in securing necessary economic and social development for their people. Irish Aid will continue to support them on this journey, with assistance to the most vulnerable as our priority.