On September 26, 2014, WAHA International launched, in partnership with the Ministries of Education and Health, a national training campaign in schools throughout Guinea to ensure that children are protected and prevent schools from becoming an important source of transmission for the disease.
The Minister of Pre-University Education, the State Ministries of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Economy and Finances, and Territorial Administration and Decentralization, as well as the National Coordinator for the fight against Ebola and the Secretary General for the Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education were present at the opening conference.
We have already developed a training program for teachers, jointly with the Ministries of Education and Health in Guinea. Training sessions for 100 national trainers, chosen by the Ministry of Education, began today. They will then be in charge of educating primary, secondary, and university schoolteachers throughout Guinea, as well as school personnel and community leaders. All trainees will be provided with Personal Protective Equipment. Furthermore, WAHA is committed to providing schools in Boké, Kindia, and in the Matoto and Ratoma districts in Conakry with hand washing equipment, hygiene products, and forehead thermometers.
As part of a global strategy and due to the difficulty of differentiating patients suffering from Ebola from the others, we intend to create “pediatric” triage centers. The idea is to take in children who were potentially exposed to the disease and put in place a short-term hospitalization system. Each sick person will be isolated individually. Their health state will be evaluated and they will be treated according to their diagnosis, before being referred, if needed to the appropriate treatment center if an Ebola diagnosis is confirmed. These temporary pediatric centers will help support and relieve urban health centers that are completely overwhelmed and ensure that non-infected patients be exposed to the virus. Finally, in order to improve the follow-up of patients and track the propagation of the disease, medical files for each student will be filled out at schools. They will notably contain the phone numbers for the students’ parents in order to main the, already fragile, link with students’ families. A video-conferencing system will also be put in place in order to help family members maintain contact with their sick loved ones. They will also have access to a 24-hour call center that will serve as an information and follow-up service, and will be equipped to send health messages via SMS.
Guinea, one of the 23 countries where our organization is currently implementing maternal and child health care projects, is along with Sierra Leone and Liberia, one of the countries the most affected by the Ebola outbreak. In this context, and to break away from the alarmist and fatalist messages, WAHA wants to carry a message of hope and to help the Guinean population to be more involved in its fight against the disease. The aim is to further involve the men, women, and children of Guinea in the battle against the Ebola virus, which is rattling solidarity within Guinean society.
Our work involves improving maternal and child health outcomes, as such, we have decided to focus on children in Guinea. They can carry a message of hope and show that there is a horizon beyond this human, social, and health catastrophe.
In order to carry out our actions, we are currently mobilizing private funding. However, we also appeal to international funders in order to allow us to support the Guinean authorities in their fight against Ebola and to strengthen our actions. Help us to respond to this major crisis.