5 September 2014 – A cargo plane of UNICEF medical supplies including protective equipment and essential medicine has just landed in Sierra Leone, part of the children’s agency’s continued drive to tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The 48 metric tonnes of supplies, including latex gloves, body bags, intravenous tubes, antibiotics and other essential medicines, and coveralls to protect health workers, will be provided to health teams, including those from the Ministry of Health and non-governmental organizations working to contain the outbreak.
This latest airlift brings up to 402 MT the overall quantity of essential items UNICEF has delivered to the three major Ebola-affected countries in 32 shipments since early August. Of the total, 70.6 MT were flown in to Guinea, 213.8 MT to Liberia and 117.7 MT to Sierra Leone.
Topping the list are protective equipment like latex gloves and masks for health workers, concentrated chlorine disinfectant, antibiotics, pain relief medicines and intravenous fluids and equipment.
Next week, UNICEF will begin sending 50,000 household protection kits to Liberia. The kits are designed for families caring for their relatives at home and contains a range of protective items such as sprayers, chlorine, gloves and garbage bags.
Emergency airlifts are expected to continue while a steady pipeline is established to bring supplies into countries by sea.
With the severe disruption of health services, the disruption of schooling and the disproportionately high number of infections among women, UNICEF fears that the impact of the current outbreak on the 4.5 million children living in Ebola-affected areas and beyond will go far beyond catching the virus.
UNICEF is on the ground, working with community and religious leaders, youth organizations and others to fight widespread misconceptions about the disease and improve hygiene practices. UNICEF is also providing water and sanitation services to the affected communities, particularly through the procurement of water, sanitation and hygiene equipment and supplies – as well as appropriate training for the health and medical partners.