Community health promoters Alison Wright 4/14
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has further strained under-resourced and over-burdened healthcare systems in Liberia and Sierra Leone. In response, BRAC has mobilized its network on the ground to educate the public, distribute sanitation materials and food supplies, and work with partners to strategically combat the spread of this deadly disease.
Thanks to support from GlobalGiving donors and match-funding partners, BRAC provided first-response in June when local offices requested emergency funding for educational posters, flyers, radio jingles, as well as materials including chlorine, disinfectant, and sterile gloves to distribute from local branch offices. BRAC’s community health promoters – funded by this project and present in both Liberia and Sierra Leone – have played a key role in their communities by raising awareness and distributing materials where possible. However, because of travel bans and restrictions on public gatherings, BRAC’s regular programs, including this maternal health project, were put on hold in August. Offices reopened in September and programs are being modified, adapting to new restrictions.
BRAC’s first priority is fighting the spread of Ebola, channeling its efforts to train and support local leaders including its 2,400 community health promoters, 900 paid staff and thousands of microfinance village heads. BRAC Country representatives are working closely with the UN and local government to coordinate efforts where they’re needed most – specifically targeting women and girls who are especially vulnerable. BRAC is also cognizant of the long-term economic impact of the disease in West Africa – the World Bank estimates a $32.6 billion net loss in the next two years – and is raising funds through this project and others to support the country in rebuilding its health, education, and microfinance sectors.
Knowing that ending the current crisis will take significant resources and a coordinated response, BRAC has partnered with other organizations in the Ebola Survival Fund. See the links below for more information.
BRAC asks that you send your thoughts out to the families of community health promoters, mentors, staff, and volunteers who have lost their lives combatting this deadly disease.