Suomi/Africa
Perspectives from Africa,
engagement from Finland
 
 

Understanding Africa

Representing Africans

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Fireworks at Kansalaistori Square, Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Fireworks in Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Finnish aid workers fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone

The International Red Cross has been busy in Sierra Leone, setting up an isolation clinic to fight the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. The Finnish Red Cross has been recruiting aid workers to work at the clinic. This is the first time the Finnish Red Cross has helped with the clinical treatment of Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. FRC's commitment began with two aid workers helping, among other things, to inform the local population how to protect themselves against the virus.

Red Cross aid workers tell people in cities and towns, villages and rural areas in Sierra Leone how to protect themselves against Ebola and what symptoms of the virus to look out for.(Image: Katherine Mueller/IFRC)

In cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the healthcare authorities in Sierra Leone, the Red Cross has set up a clinical treatment centre in Kenema, capital of Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province.

Staff at the clinic include aid workers from, among other countries, Norway, Great Britain and Spain.

The Spanish Red Cross Society is providing supplies for the clinic.

At present, the local hospital in Kenema does not have enough staff nor suitable isolation rooms for treating patients, which increases the risk of the virus spreading.

Leading locals in the fight against on Ebola

The International Red Cross advises local inhabitants how to protect themselves from the virus. In addition, the Red Cross is providing psychosocial support to people who have been exposed to the virus and to those who have been taken ill or whose relatives are suffering from or have died from it. In Sierra Leone the Red Cross cooperates with the local, traditional healers, as they can spread information about the virus and inform people in remote areas how to protect themselves.

"Having people accept and understand information about Ebola is key to stopping this outbreak. We cannot do it on our own, which is why it is critical to engage with community leaders, be they traditional healers or religious leaders," said Raul Paredes, deputy head of Ebola operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Sierra Leone.