September 9, 2014
On September 9, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced that it will provide Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries suffering from an Ebola outbreak, with 20,000 sets of personal protective equipment in a first round of efforts out of a total of 100,000 sets, which will be donated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. JICA is providing emergency relief supplies such as tents and blankets, and, though technical cooperation, various forms of support to prevent the spread of Ebola, including support for containment efforts and education campaigns.
JICA announced that in response to requests from the Governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia, it would provide personal protective equipment and supplies for individuals to the two countries to prevent the further spread of Ebola. The personal protective equipment to be provided in the round of efforts is part of donation efforts being made by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. In that round, JICA will provide a total of 20,000 sets of protective equipment, half to be distributed to each country, through the World Health Organization within a framework of emergency disaster relief. JICA will consider the possibility of further assistance after considering local conditions and the needs of each country.
In addition to the personal protective equipment mentioned above, JICA has already provided emergency relief supplies to Sierra Leone and Liberia. A summary of the activities in Sierra Leone and Liberia follows.
1. Sierra Leone
JICA has provided emergency relief supplies, including tents and blankets, worth about 29 million yen (including transportation costs) to Sierra Leone which is facing an epidemic with 1,261 infected patients and 491 deaths (as of September 5). A handover ceremony for the relief supplies was held in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, on September 5. These relief supplies are being used in health facilities to prevent spread of the disease.
JICA has provided relief supplies, including tents and sleeping pads, worth about 30 million yen (including transportation costs) to Liberia which is facing an epidemic with 1,871 infected patients and 1,089 deaths (as of September 5). A handover ceremony for the relief supplies was held in Accra, Ghana, where the relief supplies are being held, on September 4. These relief supplies are currently undergoing procedures in preparation for transportation to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. The supplies will be used at health facilities in Monrovia and rural areas.
Besides the emergency relief described above, JICA has implemented or will implement the following support measures worth about 120 million yen to prevent further spread of the disease.
1. Support for “centers” of containment *
• Since August 14, JICA experts from Nagasaki University and the members of the Kenya Medical Research Institute have participated in a national taskforce for Ebola control organized by the Government of Kenya.
• Technical guidance to improve an Ebola diagnosis system at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, including sending an expert from Hokkaido University between August 17 and 21 in tandem with the Project for Surveillance of Viral Zoonoses in Africa.
• Provision of equipment to improve an Ebola diagnosis system at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana, upgrading the devices used for testing samples – to be implemented this month and next month.
2. Enhancement of border control along national borders and at airports and seaports
• In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), implementation of a training program for 2,100 police officers responsible for border control at border areas, airports and seaports, as well as the provision of protective clothing and thermometers to Côte d’Ivoire – to be implemented this month and next month.
• Providing technical input to support the enhancement of a quarantine system at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya.
3. Enhancement of control measures at medical institutions
• Technical guidance in areas such as infection prevention and handling samples for healthcare professionals in Ghana this month and next month.
4. Support for education campaigns
To ensure healthcare workers and residents have accurate information about Ebola and to prevent panics, support will be provided for the following activities:
• Nigeria: Preparing educational brochures for healthcare professionals and residents (270,000 copies to be distributed this month) and broadcasting a radio program in Lagos State to raise awareness (this month).
• Zambia: Preparing educational brochures for healthcare professionals and residents (to be distributed in next month) and other efforts.
*The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana, the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, and others have worked on human resource development with the help of Japan over the years. These institutes have made contributions as “centers” to “contain” Ebola hemorrhagic fever in each country.