Ebola outbreak in Guinea: Red Cross calls for a response that is “faster than the virus”

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Conakry/Nairobi/Geneva, 15 February 2021 – A network of more than 700 trained Red Cross volunteers has been activated as part of a first wave of response to the new Ebola outbreak in the rural community of Gouéké in Guinea’s N’Zerekore prefecture.

Drawing from their experience during the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, the Red Cross teams are rushing to contain further spread of the virus.

Mohammed Mukhier, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Regional Director for Africa said:

“Time is of the essence. The resurgence of the virus in Guinea comes at the worst possible time when the country is already facing the COVID-19 pandemic. There are reasons for fear, but there are also reasons for hope. While we are extremely concerned, we are also reassured by the lessons we learned from previous outbreaks, and by recent medical advances.”

More than 11,000 people were killed during the worst-ever Ebola outbreak in history in 2014-2016.

Mukhier said: “We need a response that is faster than the virus itself. Unless the response is swift, the health, economic and social impacts are likely to be immense for millions of people in a country with a relatively weak health system, and where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line.”

In response to this new outbreak, the IFRC and Guinea Red Cross have activated their “epidemic preparedness and response network” in the country. Through this system, Red Cross teams have been helping communities prepare and prevent the spread of diseases.

Red Cross volunteers will provide services such as, contact tracing, psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene and—if needed—safe burials.

Guinea Red Cross has almost 2,500 volunteers across the country which gives it extraordinary reach into communities.

For more information or to request interviews:

Media contacts

In Conakry:
Benjamin Goumou
+224 657 24 88 24

In Dakar:
Dr Aissa Fally
+221 776382136

In Nairobi:
Euloge Ishimwe
+254 731 688 613

In Geneva:
Matthew Cochrane
+41 79 251 80 39