It’s working – No More Ebola Cases in Bumpeh Chiefdom!

December 8th Update:  55 Days & counting  –  No new Ebola Cases!

Chiefdom Ebola Task Force is doing a fantastic job – but they need our continued support.

There are no more Ebola cases in Bumpeh Chiefdom since they embarked on their Breaking-the-Chain-of-Transmission program  October 22nd. Even though they earlier lost 21 people to Ebola and the epidemic rages around them.

Setting up check point.

Setting up check point.

What’s changed? The single biggest intervention is rigorously managed checkpoints at the main roads to stop “strangers” from entering the chiefdom and carrying Ebola with them.  Village chiefs are the next level of defense going door to door daily to verify no one has taken ill and there are no unexpected visitors.  Reporting is real time with cell phones.

Imagine if every chiefdom in Sierra Leone mounted this kind of systematic offensive to identify and isolate Ebola cases for even 21 days.  It would literally break the chain of Ebola transmission and the outbreak would be on its way out.   Read the whole story here.

Sherbro Foundation continues to support Bumpeh Chiefdom in their Breaking-the-Chain-of- Ebola-Transmission program.  Without our donations, they could not have launched this comprehensive effort.

You can make a difference and help eliminate Ebola, too.  Join us and donate at www.sherbrofoundation.org/donate. We need your help to keep this effort going for the coming months.

You’ll know exactly where your money goes, and that it’s actually working to stop the spread of Ebola.

Bonus: 100% goes directly to the chiefdom Ebola program. Every penny. We’re an all-volunteer organization and our small administrative costs are paid by a separate donation.

2nd Bonus: It’s tax deductible for US residents. Sherbro Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Help us even more – forward this to a friend.

It’s Working – No More Ebola Cases in Bumpeh Chiefdom

November 19 update – Ebola-free 32 days and counting

“Things are better, relatively speaking.” Rosaline Kaimbay emphasized the “relatively speaking” when I called yesterday for an update on Bumpeh Chiefdom. But it was the first positive news in some weeks. There are no more Ebola cases in the chiefdom since they embarked on their Breaking-the-Chain-of-Transmission program two weeks ago.

Yet Ebola is raging in Waterloo, a large town on the main highway and the source of recent Ebola cases in Bumpeh Chiefdom. There are reports of over 700 dead of Ebola in the Western Rural area in the last 5-6 weeks, most coming from Waterloo. Ebola “refugees” have been fleeing places like Waterloo and carrying Ebola to rural villages. Places like Bumpeh Chiefdom in close proximity.

Setting up check point.

Setting up a check point.

But today there’s no Ebola cases in Rotifunk or the rest of Bumpeh Chiefdom. Why? The single biggest intervention is rigorously managed checkpoints at the main roads to stop “strangers” from entering the chiefdom and possibly carrying Ebola with them.  There are also checkpoints on the Bumpeh River that traverses the chiefdom and is the main traffic route for many of its 208 villages “downriver” as they say.

Young chiefdom men volunteered to supplement government security forces at checkpoints and monitor all traffic in and out of the chiefdom. They’re the ones rigorously enforcing, keeping chiefdom borders tight, and ensuring outsiders are turned away. They’re the ones sitting up for all night vigils with nothing to protect them from mosquitos except a camp fire. They take turns for naps in a 3-sided palm branch lean-to on hard benches of split bamboo – their improvised shelter.

Rosaline Kaimbay interviewed at chiefdom meeting.

Rosaline Kaimbay interviewed at chiefdom meeting.

Rosaline visits the checkpoints daily to be sure all is going well and lend support. She is Executive Director of Sherbro Foundation’s partner organization, the Center for Community Empowerment and Transformation, CCET, and principal of Prosperity Girls High School. And now, she’s part of the chiefdom’s Ebola task force. Rosaline is a do-er. If you need something done, get Rosaline. If it’s important to Bumpeh Chiefdom, you won’t need to look for her. She’ll be there.

Rosaline said she goes to the checkpoints daily for at least 30 minutes, maybe an hour, to personally assess. She heads out each day with the CCET motorcycle and a driver, the only practical way to get around these days. Maybe the only way.

We have six chiefdom men assigned to each checkpoint, Rosaline said. They rotate through, with five days on and two days off. I talk with people, bring them drinks, something to boost morale.

And the checkpoints are working. I asked what they do if someone tries to enter the chiefdom who doesn’t live there. They send them back where they came from, she said, the way they came in.

Chiefs like Mr. Kamara monitor village families.

Chiefs like Mr. Kamara monitor village families.

It sounds rather medieval. But much of the country is under similar isolation orders, trying to isolate districts, and chiefdoms within districts, that have surges in new Ebola cases. This is Public Health 101 to isolate disease cases and keep them from spreading. It works.

Village chiefs are the next level of defense in the Breaking-the-Chain-of-Transmission program. Bumpeh Chiefdom chiefs are going door to door daily to verify no one has taken ill with Ebola-like symptoms, and there are no new visitors.  Reports are by cell phone real time, wherever possible.  Section Chiefs are responsible to report their village results to the Chiefdom task force.

Imagine if every chiefdom in the country mounted this kind of offensive to fight Ebola for even 21 days – the upper range for Ebola incubation. It would literally break the chain of Ebola transmission and the outbreak would be on its decline.

Identify – Isolate – Treat. If all three legs of the infectious disease control stool were reliably there, Ebola would come under control. Actively engaging and supporting traditional leaders to identify and isolate cases in their chiefdoms is the key. They play a role in getting cases promptly sent for treatment. No one else can do this systematically with cooperation of the people. No one else is already in place in every corner of the country.

There’s still a long uphill battle to eliminate Ebola. But for the first time in a long while, you get a sense the runaway train is starting to be controlled and slowing down.

Sherbro Foundation will continue to support Bumpeh Chiefdom in their Breaking-the-Chain-of- Transmission program. Our donations go to support the checkpoints teams with small weekly per diems, transportation costs and cell phone coverage. Village chiefs receive a $5 honorarium to recognize their service for three months of house to house checks. With gas at $5/gallon, transportation costs are high. Our support enables the Chiefdom task force to get around and ensure work gets done. We continue to supply villages with hand washing stations and disinfectant for public places.

You can make a difference and help eliminate Ebola, too.  Join us and donate at www.sherbrofoundation.org/donate

You’ll know exactly where your money goes, and that it’s actually working to stop the spread of Ebola.

Bonus: 100% goes directly to the chiefdom Ebola program. Every penny. We’re an all-volunteer organization and our small administrative costs are paid by a separate donation.

2nd Bonus: It’s tax deductible for US residents. Sherbro Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Help us even more – forward this to a friend.

Ebola – All We Need to Do

All we need to do to make this work is restrict movement (into the chiefdom) and don’t touch.

Setting up checkpoint at chiefdom border.

Setting up checkpoint at chiefdom border.

These were Chief Caulker’s words to me two days after he launched his “break-the-chain-of-transmission” program to stop Ebola in Bumpeh Chiefdom. He spent the previous evening at one of the key checkpoints set up to control anyone trying to enter or leave the chiefdom on a drivable road. Additional checkpoints are being set up at strategic points for river traffic and frequented footpaths.

Chief was there until nearly midnight to personally observe checkpoint activity. And I need to boost morale, he said, so I stayed there late into the night.

Chief Caulker (blue sports suit) inspecting checkpoint.

Chief Caulker (blue sports suit) inspecting checkpoint.

The chiefdom has been under a government isolation order for a month with no traffic in or out except those with an authorized pass. Waterloo and Moyamba Junction are both market towns on the main highway now decimated by Ebola. Many there have family and personal connections in Bumpeh Chiefdom. You turn off the highway at either of these points to reach the chiefdom. Both towns have been the source of three cases of Ebola infected people fleeing quarantine there to chiefdom villages. Each incident was isolated and contained, but Bumpeh Chiefdom’s proximity puts it at risk of a bigger outbreak.

Army or police manned checkpoints on roads are supposed to stop all traffic without authorized passes, including any vehicle, motorbike or foot traffic. But borders are “porous,” as they say. “Lots of compromising going on,” Chief said. These are nice ways of saying people can pay or otherwise talk their way through.

Checkpoint night watch.

Checkpoint night watch.

This is why Chief Caulker has added his own chiefdom volunteers. Young men committed to their chiefdom and willing to sit up all night in a palm lean-to with a camp fire, and actually stop traffic without an official pass. Four trucks per day are allowed to bring supplies to Rotifunk.

A week later Chief Caulker said, the checkpoints are being very effective. The presence of checkpoint volunteers is making the army or police personnel do their jobs.  Traffic is finally being halted and turned away. Volunteers call in reports on cell phones.

The only problem, chief said, is that the police and army personnel are asking for food and ”incentives.” In the local vernacular, this means money and things like cigarettes, because they’re not being paid by the government, or payments are skipped. I’m not using donations the chiefdom received to fight Ebola to pay staff the government is responsible for, Chief said.

I’ve come to better understand all the petty corruption from police, army and other government employees, trying to extract small bribes from local people. When they don’t get paid, they still need to eat and support their families. They’re in effect imposing their own tax. If that’s all that’s at stake it’s one thing. But allowing Ebola infected people to pass through checkpoints during this crisis in inexcusable.

On the no touch side, one of the biggest sources of new Ebola infections have been traditional burials – now considered unsafe. People now understand (at least in Bumpeh Chiefdom) the need to report all deaths to first check for Ebola.

We’re having a good response on our side on reporting, Chief said. I got five cases of natural deaths reported to me last week I wouldn’t normally get. We need to know cause of death in each case. Swabs are taken for Ebola testing  by the community health officer.  There’s been a better response now on testing requests.

Local chiefdom burial teams have been organized and started doing burials under the supervision of official burial teams from the district capital, Moyamba. This includes proper use of personal protective equipment they received a few days ago that’s WHO funded. Teams have to undress and throw the PPE into the grave, chief said, so the supply won’t last for long. The first few burials will be supervised; then local teams are on their own. Bodies won’t be waiting two, three or more days for burial. Or be thrown in the river, as was recently done.

Let’s hope the chiefdom program to stop Ebola results in few Ebola burials to come, and new protective equipment isn’t in demand. So far, so good.

Sherbro Foundation is proud to be supporting Bumpeh Chiefdom in their program to break the chain of Ebola transmission with helping fund the checkpoint teams.

Good News Among All the Bad

There is good news among all the bad news we hear daily on Ebola. It’s important to know there is hope for the future.  Here’s some things I read today.

Treatment – the Cure
To date, there’s not been any Ebola treatment that can be called a specific cure.  Patients can only be treated symptomatically, replacing lost fluids and electrolytes and treating secondary infections.  The body has to develop natural antibodies and fight the Ebola virus on its own.

The World Health Organization, WHO, indicates serum extracted from the blood of Ebola victims who survived the virus could be made available to patients in Liberia in the coming weeks.  Blood serum with its antibodies taken from Ebola survivors has been given to newly infected patients in recent weeks out of desperation and trying possible cures.  Results are now only anecdotal, without enough cases to demonstrate efficacy.  But they’re promising.

Success remains to be seen and can only be proven with greater use.  Blood serum from survivors was used with some success in previous Ebola outbreaks.  With more and more Ebola survivors now, it’s a treatment course that’s definitely feasible to try and may prove to work. Even if it proves to only be partially effective, that could make all the difference for some patients trying to climb their way back to health.  http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/ebola/57952/ebola-blood-serum-leads-the-global-race-to-find-a-cure

Prevention
Major drug companies race to produce a vaccine for Ebola and have large quantities of doses ready for humans in 2015.  Johnson & Johnson is said to be leading the pack.  This video is encouraging in hearing J&J Chief Scientific Officer discuss not only J&J’s work, but how drug companies are in communication with each other to ensure their collective work is fast  tracked.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-22/j-j-says-250-000-ebola-vaccine-doses-to-be-ready-by-may.html

This work won’t help people currently infected with Ebola. But it definitely offers hope for the future for millions of at risk Africans.

Surviving Ebola today

msf 1000th survivor

1000th survivor – from MSF

It’s important to remember that people are surviving Ebola today with supportive care.

Doctors Without Borders celebrated their 1000th survivor in the current Ebola outbreak this week.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/10/21/357810605/my-son-is-doctors-without-borders-thousandth-ebola-survivor

The Hastings Treatment Center just outside Freetown is a new one, only opening September 19 and staffed with Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses.  130 patients have been released after successful treatment there. Amidst all the headlines on insufficient numbers of treatment centers and inadequate centers, it’s important to remember many people are being treated and surviving.

Chiefs start to break the chain of Ebola transmission

Chiefs start to break the chain of Ebola transmission

10699306_749242365144903_1471960234_nParamount Chief Caulker launched Bumpeh Chiefdom’s third and most  comprehensive Ebola control program last week. After two small outbreaks in chiefdom villages, he knew something more was needed. They need to actually break the chain of Ebola transmission. And this is what the chiefdom has set out to do.

Bumpeh Chiefdom conducted “sensitization” campaigns (awareness training) along with the rest of the country. Young volunteers went to public places and door to door educating people on symptoms of Ebola and how to protect yourself. The chiefdom implemented one of the first community-led Ebola prevention programs in August, setting up more than 200 hand washing stations in public places with more education.

But “Ebola refugees” are now desparately fleeing infected towns and cities to hide with family and friends in rural villages. These exposed and some already sick people are carrying the Ebola virus into chiefdoms around the country by seeking care from people they know. Dangerously overloaded city hospitals and treatment centers offer little care or must turn people away. Fifteen people tragically died in quarantine in a small village outside Rotifunk last month after a sick woman fled there and died.

Even though Bumpeh Chiefdom was put under an isolation order with security manned checkpoints, borders are porous. People avoid main roads and walk in. Or talk their way in. More infected people found their way in last week, causing four more chiefdom villages to go under quarantine. If chiefdoms continue to react to Ebola cases after they are visibly sick or die, the entire chiefdom is at serious risk.

Alpha distributes buckets & hand washing messageMore can and must be done to break the chain of transmission of Ebola. The Paramount Chiefs have to date been woefully underutilized and under-resourced by the government in curbing the Ebola epidemic.  But with some support, they are poised to take action against Ebola in every community, down to the smallest villages. Major interventions can be made and they don’t cost millions of dollars.

Paramount Chiefs are a long established institution in Sierra Leone. Independent of the central government, these grass-roots leaders are bound to their people by generations of tradition and family.  Together, they represent every kilometer of the country, urban and rural alike.  They are familiar to their people, and trusted in this fearful time. They are best positioned to quickly identify and isolate new Ebola cases, and arrange for them to be taken for treatment.

Cx-border checkpoint between Bumpeh and Ribbi chiefdoms

Setting up Bumpeh Chiefdom check point.

For the coming months, Bumpeh Chiefdom is mobilizing to visit every household in the chiefdom daily. Village chiefs are responsible for daily checks and reports on health status and persons residing there, including arrival of strangers and any departures. Fifty checkpoints throughout the chiefdom are being set up to monitor movement in and out of the chiefdom on small roads, frequented footpaths and river traffic. Paramount chiefs can take custody of all deceased bodies until safe burial is arranged. People are being trained and equipped to do safe local burials of highly infectious corpses, rather than waiting for days for a government burial team to remove them from the community for burial. These tasks will all be done by committed chiefdom representatives.

The National Council of Paramount Chiefs, representing all 149 chiefdoms, defined this plan to break the chain of transmission of Ebola, in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government. Paramount Chief (P.C.) Charles Caulker, Chairman of the National Council of Paramount Chiefs, introduced the plan last week in his own Bumpeh Chiefdom of 208 villages. Other Paramount Chiefs around the country are committed to doing the same.

Many Americans want to help but don’t know how.  We suggest two ways:  1)  Urge our government to translate Ebola aid into quick, practical action;  2)  Contribute to implementing the plan of the Paramount Chiefs through existing nonprofits on-the-ground with effective ties to Sierra Leone communities. Sherbro Foundation Sierra Leone (SFSL) is one.

Sherbro Foundation Sierra Leone is helping fund Bumpeh Chiefdom’s Ebola action plan and working in partnership with the chiefdom Ebola task force. For $5 USD, each of P.C. Caulker’s 208 village chiefs will monitor every village for three months, including daily door-to-door visits, recording all persons removed to quarantine, holding and treatment centers, and recording deaths. Checkpoints to control the movement of sick or “at risk” people into and out of the Chiefdom need similar support for staffing, transportation and cell phone costs. SFSL already funded 200 portable hand washing stations with disinfectant for public places across the Chiefdom as a first line of defense against Ebola. The chiefdom needs 200 more to cover all villages at $20 USD each.

Support is urgently needed by the Paramount Chiefs to implement local level Ebola action plans in Bumpeh and other Chiefdoms. With our support, they will have the ability to break the chain of transmission.

We need your help right now. For information on how to donate, please go to www.sherbrofoundation.org/donate

Help us more by passing this on to a friend.  There’s no time to waste.

Thank you,

Arlene Golembiewski,
Executive Director, Sherbro Foundation

Kargboro Chiefdom receives Ebola Prevention Supplies via Sherbro Foundation

Rev Williams load his motorcycle to carry supplies to Shenge

Rev Williams loads his motorcycle to carry Ebola prevention supplies to Shenge

Sherbro Foundation was happy to help former Shenge Peace Corps Volunteer, Ginny Fornillo send Ebola  aid to Kargboro Chiefdom, Moyamba District.  Ginny’s donation allowed Reverend Hubert Williams of Gomer Memorial Church, Shenge, buy hand washing stations to set up in chiefdom public places, as well as disinfectant and soap.

Frequent hand washing with basic soap and water remains an effective first line of defense to prevent Ebola and other diseases like cholera and dysentery.

Reverend Williams loaded up his motorcycle in Freetown to carry supplies back to Shenge.  Shenge is a coastal village at the end of one the worst dirt roads in Sierra Leone. Motorcycles are one of the only means of transportation to still get to Shenge.

Kargboro Chiefdom Ebola Committee ready to distribute hand washing stations

Kargboro Chiefdom Ebola Committee ready to distribute hand washing stations

Kargboro Chiefdom Ebola Committee members distributed hand washing stations and soap to public places in Shenge and surrounding villages.

Kargboro Paramount Chief, Madam Doris Lenga Koroma, sent her thanks and appreciation on behalf of chiefdom residents.

Reverend Williams had to again travel to a place where he could email back a message  with pictures to show that he successfully delivered supplies in Shenge:

” D figures of contacts 4 EBOLA is everyday increasing. I heard of a case few miles 2 Bambuibu, so I have 2 go back immediately 2 go and take care of my family. D entire country we are in a complete confusion and worries.

As 4 request 4 HELP, I am ALWAYS in need at every moment. D people of KARGBORO are also asking 4 more assistance.”

Ebola victims are now fleeing infected cities and towns to the care of family and friends in rural villages.  Family connections run deep, and even remote places like Kargboro Chiefdom are no longer safe from the Ebola virus.

Thanks again to Ginny Fornillo for coming to the aid of Kargboro Chiefdom with supplies to help prevent transmission of the Ebola virus.

 

 

Ebola – how life is unnecessarily lost

Oct 4  Sad update to this story: everyone, save three small children, in the three quarantined houses have contracted Ebola and passed away. 14 adults and the 17-yr old girl pictured here. The 3 children have reached the 21 day point with no symptoms, and are being released.
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I was shocked to hear that all of Moyamba District was put under an Ebola isolation order last week, and Bumpeh Chiefdom was further isolated within the district. And worried about the welfare of my friends in Bumpeh Chiefdom where Sherbro Foundation does our work.

I soon learned more that shocked me, more than four months into the second and more rapidly growing wave of Ebola in Sierra Leone. My heart aches for these people so far away, and there’s so little we can do from here. But one important action is helping.

After a three-day national shutdown to try to contain Ebola cases, it may have seemed that the cities were starting to get a grip on the deadly virus, which is spread by contact with bodily fluids.

But there’s still no full logistical plan nor Ebola-equipped health care in rural areas –the majority of the country — to manage cases in new Ebola hot spots. What are the practical next steps, when there are so few resources, when there are so many obstacles in a subsistence society?

17-yr old gives birth aloneIsolation and quarantine are the government orders. But with no further plan and coordination of services, avoidable Ebola cases can happen — and more unnecessary deaths.

This 17-year old girl is another kind of Ebola victim.

Pregnant with her first baby and quarantined in a village just outside Rotifunk, she got no prenatal care in her last weeks. When the baby came, she was left to deliver on her own. Even her own mother was afraid to come to assist. The baby was stillborn. The young mother got no assistance to ensure the placenta was fully removed and she had no complications. She remains untended in quarantine.

“If there had been the opportunity of suing the state to court, I should have been the first person to do that,” Rotifunk Ebola task force team leader Ben Alpha’n Mansaray said via Facebook.

“Once you are quarantine, you are sentenced to death. They need care! They need hope!”

About 1.2 million people in the country are now under isolation orders in the Sierra Leone government’s efforts to stop the spread of the disease. Isolation means a cluster of new Ebola cases occurred, requiring a more drastic measure.  People can move around within the isolated area, but no one can come in or go out. Individual homes are quarantined to further isolate new cases.

Alpha Mansaray delivers hand washing stations and Ebola prevention message to villagers.

Alpha Mansaray delivers hand washing stations and Ebola prevention message to villagers.

Quick action by Bumpeh Chiefdom’s Paramount Chief Charles Caulker to quarantine contacts of the first Ebola case in early September has kept the disease contained to a small village on the outskirts of Rotifunk. Rotifunk itself, seat of the chiefdom of 40,000, remains safe.

Ten days ago, the dreaded virus emerged in new cases among the quarantined people. Eight people total have died, and two early cases made it to a treatment center.

Quarantine sounds like a straight-forward measure. You restrict people to their house who may have been exposed, and wait through the 21-day incubation period to see if they develop the disease. But in an impoverished rural area like Rotifunk, the logistics are anything but simple.

They are nightmarish.

  • There’s no local holding center to isolate new Ebola cases from those not sick until they can be carried to a treatment center. In close quarters of a quarantined house, the sick can quickly infect those not sick.
  • The few Ebola treatment centers (only in far-off cities) and ambulance service are beyond overloaded. Rotifunk made repeated calls for five days and got no response. With no Ebola-equipped local health care, the sick are left on their own. No one comes near. The sick only got sicker.  Three died waiting for an ambulance to arrive.  Three others made it to the district capital holding center — two hours to go only 17 miles on a pothole ridden dirt road  — but died waiting for a bed opening up in a treatment center.
  • Inexperienced ambulance teams that did finally appear are fearful even with some protective equipment, and wouldn’t assist Ebola patients into the ambulance. If sick patients could drag themselves 25 feet and climb in on their own, they were taken to a holding center. If not, they were left to die at the quarantine house.  One man died the following day.
  • People in quarantine have great difficulty getting adequate food or daily clean water. These are people who rely on their daily labor to buy their daily food. Some are lucky when family or friends send food. Others are at the mercy of generous local residents.
  • Water is especially important to keep the sick hydrated. When a water container is used in quarantine, it must be considered contaminated. Disposables are unheard of. If the quarantined are near a river, they can collect their own water. If not, they wait for a Good Samaritan to bring water and pour it into their container left outside.
  • Other medical emergencies like malaria, typhoid, maternity cases or increasingly common chronic conditions like hypertension get no care in quarantine – resulting in unnecessary complications or deaths.

When new Ebola cases appear in a quarantined house, the 21-day quarantine clock starts again for those showing no Ebola symptoms.  They could end up in quarantine for five, six or more weeks. When left in the same infected house, their likelihood of getting Ebola only grows.

The central government Health Service orders there be no movement of people under quarantine. Security (army or police) are stationed to enforce this. No safe houses have been provided despite repeated reports of Rotifunk’s situation. Some well people, like this pregnant girl, moved to an outdoor bathhouse (just concrete) in an effort to protect themselves while waiting out the remainder of their quarantine.

Bumpeh Chiefdom’s  isolation order came last week without notice, separating parent from children, farmer from fields needing planting, family from breadwinner who went to market and has the only money or food to feed the others.

When I read of whole villages being decimated by Ebola, I can now better understand why. Quarantine can lead to the sick quickly infecting those not sick with nowhere to go. Villages may self-impose quarantine to isolate the sick. With sick people and no indoor plumbing or easy to access water, houses quickly become filthy. Disease spreads. Mothers delivering babies and small children with malaria get no medical care.

How can this awful situation be improved?  One simple solution is to build temporary makeshift huts and pit latrines as local Ebola holding centers, to separate those becoming sick until they can be moved for treatment. With very minimal funding, these could be locally built. But they’re not forthcoming. Ambulance service calls need to be coordinated, and drivers trained and held accountable for delivering patients.

There is something important we in other countries can do: Help to buy simple hand-washing stations for Bumpeh ChiefdomSherbro Foundation paid for 200 such plastic stations and disinfectant in August. Forty stations were set up in public places around Rotifunk in one week.  160 more followed for chiefdom villages in August.  Chief Caulker said, “These have been very, very effective. You see them constantly in use with people washing their hands throughout the day.”

Chief Caulker would like 200 more hand-washing stations to supply remaining villages. Villagers get Ebola sensitization training and weekly reminders from Rotifunk volunteers on the importance of frequent washing to prevent Ebola and other diseases like cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Behaviors on personal hygiene and sanitation are changing.

Sherbro Foundation works directly with the Bumpeh Chiefdom Ebola task force to quickly send all donated dollars so they can buy these life-saving supplies. Please consider donating right now!  $20 buys one hand-washing station and two bottles of disinfectant.  Donate online here.

Nothing is easy about managing the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. But coordination and common-sense local solutions could help. When coordination between the central Sierra Leone government and rural traditional leaders during emergencies is missing, key opportunities are lost.

Innocent people are the losers when critical decisions aren’t made quickly. It means unnecessary and tragic loss of life.