News  >  Blog

Global Communities Testifies at House Subcommittee Hearing on Ebola

Published 11/18/2014 by Global Communities

Global Communities Testifies at House Subcommittee Hearing on Ebola
On November 19, 2014, the U.S. House of  Representative’s Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations held a hearing on Ebola entitled “Fighting Ebola: A Ground-Level View.” 
The current crisis has been the largest and most widespread outbreak of Ebola in history, creating a particular burden on the affected countries. Since the beginning of the outbreak, U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations have made a significant and sustained effort to support the countries in West Africa as they fought the disease. The hearing was intended to take testimony from prominent NGOs, providing services on the ground currently, in the affected countries, especially Liberia, so subcommittee members can better determine how proposed actions are being implemented. To date, the U.S. has committed nearly $1 billion to build treatment centers, train health care workers and burial teams, supply hospitals with protective gear and ensure the safety and humanitarian support. 
The featured witnesses included Rabih Torbay, Senior Vice President for International Operations with International Medical Corps; Brett Sedgewick, Technical Adviser for Food Security and Livelihoods for Global Communities; and Darius Mans, President of Africare.
Brett Sedgewick of Global Communities testified on the details of the USAID OFDA–funded ALERT (Assisting Liberians with Education to Reduce Transmission) program which works to stop the spread of the disease through community education and safe burial practices. The CDC estimates that 70 percent of Ebola infections were originating from contact with the deceased, underscoring the importance of safe burial. Community engagement and education also ensure that the burial teams are welcome in the communities, and that the families are safely involved in the burial process. According to Global Communities staff on the ground, the burial teams have been able to remove 96 percent of bodies within 24 hours, many of which are in very remote and difficult to access areas. 
Watch the full hearing below: