VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
IRC responds to outbreak of cholera in Sierra Leone
August 28, 2012 by The IRC
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is responding to a deadly outbreak of cholera in the West African nation of Sierra Leone. To date an estimated 200 lives have been claimed, and 12,000 cases of the disease reported. With millions more at risk, urgent action is essential to halt the spread of infection and save lives.
The IRC has been on the ground in Sierra Leone since 1999 and will continue to work closely with local partners and the Ministry of Health to respond to this latest crisis. Our work will be concentrated in the Kenema and Kono districts of eastern Sierra Leone, with disease prevention campaigns targeting the local population of over 800,000 and essential medical supplies to be made available for the almost 3,000 expected cholera cases.
Cholera is a water-borne disease most commonly spread via contaminated water sources and it poses a particular threat in areas where hygiene is poor and sanitation inadequate. It can cause death within a matter of hours, making urgent response a necessity.
Special funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) will enable IRC staff on the ground to save lives by activating hygiene promotion campaigns to prevent the spread of infection, and buying medical supplies to treat the dying.
"The cholera crisis threatens the well-being of all Sierra Leoneans,” said Sue Clarke, the IRC’s senior program coordinator in Sierra Leone. “The IRC is one of the best placed organizations to scale up operations in prevention and treatment—owing to its 14 years' experience in the country and its expertise in health interventions."