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USAID OFDA Awards Global Communities $7.7 Million for Ebola Relief Efforts in Liberia

Published 10/02/2014 by Global Communities

USAID OFDA Awards Global Communities $7.7 Million for Ebola Relief Efforts in Liberia

Additional Funds from International Rescue Committee will Support Outreach
Silver Spring, MD (October 1, 2014) – The USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance has awarded $7.7 million to Global Communities to provide community-based Ebola healthcare in Liberia, including community engagement, contact tracing and burial team support in all 15 counties. In addition, Global Communities has also been awarded more than $680,000 under a separate grant from an International Rescue Committee-led consortium, which will help increase community outreach and Ebola awareness efforts in Liberia.
Both of these grants will support Global Communities Assisting Liberians through Education to Reduce Transmission (ALERT) program to support efforts to combat the Ebola virus. Under ALERT, teams are working in Monrovia, Lofa, Bong, and Nimba counties to conduct community-based outreach and education to enable communities to reduce the risk of Ebola transmission, and to prevent future cases. Global Communities engages local authorities, health ministries, and traditional leaders in sharing messages with their community to prevent the spread of Ebola, and to encourage communities to practice safe and healthy hygiene and burial practices to combat the spread of the disease.
The ALERT program strategy emphasizes well-trained staff as the first means of assuring and strengthening protection for vulnerable groups during program implementation, and ensuring that all burial and disinfection teams are properly trained in safe practices to protect them from infection.
Global Communities is now operational in all 15 counties with 71 burial teams and 32 disinfection teams. “Given the magnitude of this crisis and the major challenges in addressing it, the fact that we have gotten these teams moving so quickly is beyond extraordinary,” said David A. Weiss, President and CEO of Global Communities. “USAID’s funding will be a tremendous support to helping Global Communities help the poorest and sickest in Liberia during this unprecedented outbreak.”
Financial and logistical support will include stipends to team members, communications allowances, vehicles and fuel, drivers, data collection and administrative support. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), chlorine for disinfection, body bags and other required equipment will be provided by USAID and other partners in-country that are currently stockpiling these items.
With USAID support, Global Communities will also ensure the bodies of those who have perished are disposed of in a safe and hygienic manner. Ebola remains contagious even in the bodily fluids of the dead, and can be spread when family members or others wash and prepare the body for burial. Additionally, Global Communities recently held a series of nearly 20 Community Meeting and Dialogue Sessions in Voinjama District, Lofa County to empower people with critical information on the history, signs and symptoms, transmission mode, and devastating impact of the Ebola outbreak. The sessions were designed to counter high levels of Ebola denial, contacts with sick people, and secret burials of dead bodies that have been identified as key causes of high rates of infection and transmission.
To date, an estimated 6,500  individuals have contracted Ebola in West Africa – 3,458 in Liberia alone – and that number is projected to double every 20 days, with the Center for Disease Control projecting that 1.4 million people could be affected by the end of January if a massive scale-up in response does not occur.
Global Communities has been leading the USAID/Liberia-funded improved water, sanitation and hygiene (IWASH) program in Liberia for more than four years. Since the first Ebola outbreak, Global Communities has responded with social mobilization and hygiene promotion in affected communities.
Learn more about Global Commuties Ebola response efforts at: http://globalcommunities.org/ebola-response
Read perspectives from those working “On the Front Lines of Ebola” at: http://blog.usaid.gov/ebola/