Integral Disaster Response Alert for the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Integral’s Members have been responding individually to Ebola both operationally and through partners since the beginning of the outbreak. However, following a joint conference call on 23rd October, the Ebola outbreak is now an official Integral Disaster Response, with 13 of Integral’s 20 Members opting in. The response includes all work in West Africa relating to Ebola, focusing mainly on Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone …

Photo: World Renew, A Village ‘Ebola Prevention’ meeting in Liberia 

Integral Members responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa are Food for the Hungry (USA), MAP International (USA), Mission Alliance (Norway), Medair (Switzerland), Medical Teams International (USA), SEL (France), Tear Netherlands, Tearfund (Belgium), Tearfund (UK), World Concern (USA), World Relief Canada, World Renew (USA & Canada), and World Relief (USA).

To date MAP has shipped $10,500,000 USDs of Ebola related supplies to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, including protective clothing and medicines. Medical Teams International is on the ground responding in seven Liberian counties and mobilising to expand to all fifteen. World Renew is working through local partners in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to train community health workers, and whole communities, in the prevention of Ebola, and also supplying medical supplies and protective clothing. Mission Alliance is supporting a local partner in Liberia and providing funds for an information campaign and psycho-social counselling. World Relief Canada is working with a local partner in Liberia implementing water and sanitation programmes in 15 rural communities. Tearfund UK partners are working with at-risk communities in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to heighten awareness of the deadly virus. All other Integral Members are supporting with private and institutional fundraising. By making this an official response, Integral is aiming to see how our Members can be more effective and efficient by working together.

Roger Sandberg, Director of Emergency Relief & Global Security for Medical Teams International says, “We have been working in Liberia for the past 10 years and been part of the Ebola response since the beginning of the outbreak. We started with community training and messaging and are now involved in training health workers in Ebola Infection and Prevention Control. The number of cases continues to multiply and the World Health Organization estimates that the number of cases in Liberia doubles every 22 days. As part of the Integral Alliance, Medical Teams is working closely with other Integral Members to coordinate efforts and to join resources in order to multiply our efforts. As Ebola continues to spread throughout Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone a unified response is urgently needed to end this terrible outbreak.”

Mark Mosely Vice President, Global Essential Medicines, Supplies & Services with MAP International echoes this sentiment, “The simple fact is that we are greater as an Alliance than we are individually now that this is an Integral response.” 

As well as supporting Members with medical expertise, the joint response will take a holistic approach. Jan Eyre, Integral’s Disaster Management and Programme Coordinator says, “The impact of the Ebola crisis will be greater than just the medical side of things and will affect wider society, so we need to keep this in mind in this initial planning stages of our cooperation. Many of our Members work in complementary sectors, and we will be seeking to leverage the combined expertise of our Membership to make a greater impact against this deadly disease.”

Integral Members are currently sharing their materials for preventive education, photos and stories on the Integral DR website. Members are also looking at doing a joint mapping exercise of their reach and responses and are exploring ways to meet the very great challenge of staff needs on the ground.

See here for the latest situation report from the World Health Organisation.