IsraAID began its program in Sierra Leone in September 2014 in response to the deadly outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa.
During the outbreak, IsraAID SL primarily focused its work on mental health and psychosocial support, providing training, mentoring, and supervision to Ebola survivors, frontline workers, and other affected communities.
Since Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free in 2016, IsraAID's main sector of work in Sierra Leone has remained Protection, focusing on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, and Disaster Risk Reducation including psychosocial support mainstreaming. IsraAID SL continues to provide psychosocial support to caregivers, youth, and work with victims of disasters.
Fighting Fear & Healing after Ebola
Psycho-Social training for service providers and affected communities
One of the fundamental challenges of the Ebola outbreak is the stigmatization of the disease, and the discrimination faced by the families of victims, and survivors themselves. The Ebola outbreak is putting enormous strain on the general population, as fear and stress are fomenting unrest and mistrust. Long-term risks of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and secondary trauma for health workers are also becoming serious concerns as the disease continues to spread across West Africa.
Partnering with the office of the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Ms. Sia Nyama Koroma, and the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare, IsraAID is helping lead the first national task force aiming to integrate psycho-social support into health programs and train health workers, social workers, security forces, service providers and the general population. During 2014-15, IsraAID will send over 30 experts in PTSD prevention and stress management to West Africa. There they will conduct intensive training for local social workers and health workers as well as other service providers to equip them with practical tools in stress management and trauma prevention techniques. The program will be based on IsraAID's world-renown holistic approach developed and implemented after disasters in Haiti, Japan, South Sudan, Jordan, and other countries around the world.
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- Train national and international service providers (healthcare workers, social workers, officials, community leaders, and security forces) on trauma coping mechanisms and stress management.
- Provide self-care tools to these same professionals to minimize risk of secondary trauma
- Minimize stress and fear for the general population of Sierra Leone
- Reduce discrimination for affected communities and the families of infected individuals
- Increase the access to grief care for families that have lost a member to Ebola
- Sent two professional teams to Sierra Leone
- Created a national task force with the First Lady of Sierra Leone and national ministries
- Conducted pilot training workshops for call center operators, social workers, and other government and non-profit staff