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Ebola outbreak: UNICEF continues to rush critical supplies to protect health workers and families

2014-09-05

Further 48 MT of equipment and medicines touches down in Sierra Leone, as part of 402 MT of supplies airlifted to Ebola-affected countries

GENEVA/DAKAR/FREETOWN/NEW YORK, 5 September 2014 – A cargo plane of UNICEF medical supplies including protective equipment and essential medicine has just landed in Sierra Leone, part of the children's agency's continued drive to tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The 48 metric tonnes of supplies, including latex gloves, body bags, intravenous tubes, antibiotics and other essential medicines, and coveralls to protect health workers, will be provided to health teams, including those from the Ministry of Health and non-governmental organizations working to contain the outbreak.

This latest airlift brings up to 402 MT the overall quantity of essential items UNICEF has delivered to the three major Ebola-affected countries in 32 shipments since early August. Of the total, 70.6 MT were flown in to Guinea, 213.8 MT to Liberia and 117.7 MT to Sierra Leone.

Topping the list are protective equipment like latex gloves and masks for health workers, concentrated chlorine disinfectant, antibiotics, pain relief medicines and intravenous fluids and equipment.

Next week, UNICEF will begin sending 50,000 household protection kits to Liberia. The kits are designed for families caring for their relatives at home and contains a range of protective items such as sprayers, chlorine, gloves and garbage bags.

Emergency airlifts are expected to continue while a steady pipeline is established to bring supplies into countries by sea.

With the severe disruption of health services, the disruption of schooling and the disproportionately high number of infections among women, UNICEF fears that the impact of the current outbreak on the 4.5 million children living in Ebola-affected areas and beyond will go far beyond catching the virus.

UNICEF is on the ground, working with community and religious leaders, youth organizations and others to fight widespread misconceptions about the disease and improve hygiene practices. UNICEF is also providing water and sanitation services to the affected communities, particularly through the procurement of water, sanitation and hygiene equipment and supplies - as well as appropriate training for the health and medical partners.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.