International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC in Sierra Leone

Photo: Aubrey Wade/The IRC

In 2002, Sierra Leone emerged from a long and violent civil war that displaced two million people, killed more than 50,000 and fostered widespread abuse of human rights. As the country continues to recover, the IRC brings vital services and protection to the vulnerable population to help them stay healthy and safe and find ways to move toward economic stability.

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How We Help

Emergency response in Sierra Leone

  • The IRC is partnering with health officials in Sierra Leone to stem an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. Read more below.

The IRC's Ongoing Work

  • The IRC enrolls students in safe schools with well-trained teachers.
  • The IRC trains rural health care providers in lifesaving techniques for treating newborns and their mothers.
  • The IRC works to lower mortality rates from treatable diseases like malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea and to make childbirth safe with accessible, high-quality health care.
  • The IRC protects women from sexual violence and supports survivors.
January 27, 2015 | Blog
The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the largest, longest and most complex in the nearly four-decade history of the disease. IRC global health and emergency response experts share information about Ebola prevention and treatment.


As an Ebola outbreak surges through West Africa, IRC staff and community health workers in Sierra Leone are actively working to educate communities on how to stop the spread of the virus.

  • The IRC is training government and community health workers in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus. These workers have reached 160,000 people in over 2,000 villages in Kono and Kenema districts.
  • The IRC trained gravediggers in Kenema on the safest way to bury the bodies of Ebola victims.
  • The IRC is working with traditional healers to make sure they understand that they can help control the outbreak by not treating people with symptoms and instead referring them to health facilities. 
  • The IRC is working closely with the ministry of health. We have set up two isolation units in Kono and Kambia.

What is Ebola?

If contracted, Ebola is one of the world’s most deadly diseases. Previous outbreaks of Ebola have had a 50 - 90 percent fatality rate, according to the World Health Organization.

Ebola passes from human to human via contact with bodily fluids. Since it’s not airborne, the virus can be killed with soap and water. However, it does spread quickly from person to person if precautions are not taken. The most important way to stem the spread is to ensure anyone who develops symptoms immediately gets treatment and isolation at a medical facility.