World Vision is calling on world leaders that attended the European Union High-level Conference on Ebola to provide increased levels of support for West African children. New data suggests that in Sierra Leone alone over 8,000 children have been left orphaned. Whilst the crisis has subsided some what over the last few months the impact of the outbreak is still being felt acutely in West Africa.
Children are being badly affected by Ebola
A recent report issued by the government of Sierra Leone suggests that over 16,500 children have been directly impacted by the outbreak of Ebola since the disease was first detected in Guinea back in December 2013. A report from the World Bank goes on to add that nearly fifty per cent of those children have either lost one or both parents.
“Ebola has taken a huge toll on children’s survival and health in Sierra Leone and across the West Africa region. Before the outbreak, Sierra Leone already had the highest maternal mortality ratio and the second highest child mortality rate in the world and the country’s health system was among the weakest in the world, with acute shortages of qualified health care professionals, essential drugs and equipment. This situation has worsened in the past year and the Brussels conference is an opportunity for world leaders to commit further support for this incredibly challenged generation of young people,” says Leslie Scott, Director of World Vision Sierra Leone.
Number of Ebola orphans increasing
The latest statistics offered by Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health show that over 700 kids have been diagnosed with the disease which caused approximately 450 fatalities. All over West Africa, authorities are reporting an increase in the number of orphans that are aged under 5. Officials in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone reckon that as many as 25,900 children are in dire in need of help.
World Vision providing support
World Vision is offering support to temporary community care centres for children who have been orphaned and are being placed with extended families. World Vision has been engaged in development and relief programmes in Sierra Leone for nearly two decades and is working with the government to train teachers with the skills necessary to prepare them for schools to be re-opened later this month.