On 19 March 2015 Sierra Leone recorded its first day with zero confirmed cases since the Ebola crisis peaked, An average of 4 cases per day have been recorded since 19 March.
To support the 3-day “stay at home” campaign announced by the President on 21 March UNMEER, in collaboration with the World Bank and UNICEF, provided financial resources to the National Ebola Response Center (NERC) The campaign addressed both high and low transmission districts and included house-to-house interventions (active case finding and messages against complacency) with the aim of combatting the disease in Sierra Leone. This was a NERC initiative to bring the transmission to zero using a coordinated and concentrated effort. It was led by the government in partnership with NGOs, UN and community structures.
The UK also supported the NERC with the plans for the ‘stay at home’ including identification and resolution of key risks, particularly ensuring sufficient food distribution in Western Area and continued enforcement of safe burials. UK teams in the District Ebola Response Centers (DERCs) worked to ensure successful implementation of the ‘stay at home’ at the operational level, including ensuring that active case searching targeted those living in the hotspot areas of Western Area, Port Loko, and Kambia and focused on women, young people, and traditional leaders, healers and chiefs.
The World Bank has mobilized about US$ 1 billion in financing for the countries hardest hit by the crisis. This fund is helping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone provide treatment and care, contain and prevent the spread of infections, help communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and improve public health systems.
To further support the NERC in the 3 day “stay at home”, UNMEER sponsored Welthungerhilfe and Plan International Sierra Leone to feed vulnerable population in the Western Area; over 170,000 Metric Tons of food were distributed reaching over 34,850 households.
The March Hazard Payment has been initiated for over 21,000 Ebola Response Workers (ERW) across the country. Almost 40% of the ERW will receive their Hazard Payment through bank accounts and the remaining 60% will receive their March payment through ‘mobile money’.
As UNMEER’s implementing partner, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) continues to fulfill requests made by the DERC and District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) in a swift and coordinated manner through a fund of over USD $600,000.
Some of the activities funded through CRS include the distribution of 24 satellite phones to designated individuals in the following districts as per NERC pre-determined needs: Kono, Bombali, Bo, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Bonthe and Kambia.
The second and final batch of Cuban Medical Brigade members will depart on Wednesday 1 April after 6 months providing clinical care in Ola During Hospital and Waterloo ETCs. The first batch departed on 22 March. The team consisting of 165 doctors, nurses and other health workers arrived in Sierra Leone in October 2014 under a special agreement between WHO and the Governments of Sierra Leone and the Cuban government on the other. At the time it was the largest foreign medical team from a single country to assist in the outbreak in Sierra Leone.