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Water Against Ebola

7th Jan 2015

Without it Sierra Leone wouldn't stand a chance against the virus. It is essential for treating the sick and ensuring medical facilities are safe and hygienic

Oxfam provides water to medical centres.

A water tank stands at the entrance of the Lakka Ebola treatment centre - where people from the suburbs of Freetown come to seek testing and treatment. For each patient the centre requires about 250 litres of water per day, with differing concentrations of chlorine depending on the use.

 

Washing-up is essential in the centres. Oxfam provides water buckets and chlorine for people who work directly with Ebola patients in order to reduce the risk of infection. Workers carry two pairs of gloves that they disinfect as often as possible.

This is the safety line that separates risk zones - green from red. A health worker delivers a bucket of water to a nurse attending to patients located on the other side of the fence. Among other tasks, personnel working in the centre use water to clean and sanitize the area, the patients and the clinical material. They also need water to help patients use latrines and showers when they are too weak to do so by themselves.

Oxfam also distributes survivor kits to families who have lost everything. They include mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets, chlorine and water purification tablets for water, soap and buckets.

Fatmata Bangura (right) is 20 years old. She has survived Ebola. Once she leaves the centre of Lakka she wants to reunite with families and friends of the community to tell them about her ordeal and warn them that Ebola is real, but they can fight it with prevention measures.

Below, in the photo, a patient leaving the Lakka treatment centre is accompanied by medical personnel. After overcoming Ebola, survivors face the struggle against stigma. It is often an uphill battle to restart their lives. Oxfam works with other organizations and together with communities and local partners to reintegrate survivors into society and eradicate the stigmatization of Ebola patients and survivors.

 

Pictures by Pablo Tosco (Oxfam Intermón) 

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