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Sierra Leone: One of the toughest slums beats Ebola

Moa Wharf is one of Sierra Leone’s worst slums. In this overcrowded, beachfront neighbourhood, Ebola arrived and seemed poised to burn through the area like wildfire. So how did one of the most challenging areas in Sierra Leone get to zero cases and how can the Ebola response learn from its success?

On a stretch of scenic coastline at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean sits one of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s, toughest neighbourhoods – Moa Wharf. It is a cluster of congested, tightly-packed corrugated iron and brick homes and shops. The passageways are narrow and crowded. Residents and visitors find themselves in close, intimate contact as they navigate swampy land and heaps of refuse. Pigs run loose on the streets, rooting through the garbage and adding their waste to an already fetid situation. So how did the area with one of the most challenging and daunting environments manage to reach zero cases?

The first case of Ebola occurred around 9 March 2014. As a result of this initial case, the Government instituted a quarantine, which was lifted on 10 April following the last positive case on 26 March. But with more than 8 000 people living in this area that is less than 1 square kilometre, Ebola response teams were fearful that the virus would re-emerge in this enclave.

More information : http://apps.who.int/ebola/sierra-leone-slum-betas-ebola

 

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