Last night I wrapped up my visit to Brazzaville. It coincided with the announcement of the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Today I am traveling back to my office in Dakar and I could not be more motivated and determined for the UN Volunteers porgamme (UNV) to support the Congolese Government, population and WHO in bringing an end to the spread of this deadly Virus.
During conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies, sexual and reproductive health needs are easily overlooked – yet these needs are often staggering. UN Volunteers work in conflict-affected areas hand in hand with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) staff to deploy hygiene supplies, obstetric and family planning supplies, trained personnel, and other support to vulnerable populations, and works to ensure the needs of women and young people are served through both an emergency and the reconstruction phase.
Over the past eighteen months, I worked alongside the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as Youth Affairs Officer for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sierra Leone. My primary objectives are the improvement of livelihoods and psychological wellbeing for the 1,300 people who served in the safe and dignified burial teams (SDB) of the Ebola response.
Monrovia, Liberia: As a UN Volunteer Medical Doctor with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), my work involves providing clinical healthcare to all UN national and international staff members, as well as to the UN peacekeeping uniformed personnel.
With on-going efforts to mitigate the spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, UNV is strategically partnering with United Nations entities in the country to mobilize volunteers to assist and facilitate the process. In collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) and with the support of WFP Country Director Gon Myers, this was a unique opportunity for UNV to engage local youth volunteers.
“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has so far claimed over 5,000 lives in the three most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. While the death and suffering caused by Ebola is immediate and must be stopped, the socio-economic impact of the disease will last long after Ebola has been brought under control,” says Gina Casar, UNDP Associate Administrator. “UNDP is leading on early recovery efforts, and supporting nationally-led efforts to address the crisis.”
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, together with a consortium of Guinean youth organizations, is carrying out sensitization campaigns about Ebola prevention measures in communities around the country.