MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, will send three mobile emergency clinics to areas in western Africa where there is a high risk of infection with Ebola.
(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson – October 5, 2014)
On October 26, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs through MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, inaugurated the Israel Forum to Combat Ebola as a joint initiative of MASHAV; SID-Israel, the Israeli branch of the Society for International Development; and of the Israeli Fund for UNICEF (IFU). The forum calls upon Israeli civil aid organizations, the business sector and academia, in cooperation with the government of Israel, to join in the global effort to assist in combating the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic.
In September 2014, following discussions and coordination with national and international partners, including the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Ms. Sia Nyama Koroma, IsraAID officially launched its Psycho-Social Support (PSS) training program to help Ebola victims and their families in West Africa. IsraAID, a nongovernmental organization known globally for its crisis support, has sent an advance team to Sierra Leone, where it has begun the first phase of its program.
Yotam Polizer of IsraAID meets with the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Sia Nyama Koroma,
and Mr. Sam Bangura, Policy Advisor to the First Lady
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 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) prevention and stress management to West Africa.
The team is holding workshops and training government and NGO health providers, social workers and community leaders who work directly with Ebola victims and survivors. The first workshop is focused on self care, better handling the trauma of the potential infection, and building community resilience.
On October 27, the Office of the First Lady of Sierra Leone posted the workshop on its Facebook page:
A two-day workshop on stress management and self-care organized by the Office of the First Lady in partnership with IsraAID is underway at the Presidential Lodge. The first day of the workshop focused on the Ebola epidemic as a traumatic event. Participants drawn from various sectors are being introduced to notions of psycho-social support and self-care which are crucial in the fight against Ebola and its aftermath. The workshop is intended to release the stress that people are experiencing during these difficult times.
Sierra Leone needs well trained and experienced people in the field of psycho-social support, said Sam Bangura, Policy Adviser Office of the First Lady.
IsraAID representative Yotam Polizer said that they are here to stay with plans to bring 60 specialists from Israel into the country over the next two years to train Sierra Leoneans to give psycho-social support.
For a survivor, weakened and scared, but alive, Ebola means pain and a life of guilt, shame and rejection. For the thousands of survivors and health workers especially nurses, doctors, lab-technicians, drivers, cleaners, contact tracers, burial teams and community workers Ebola means betrayal and sadness, flashbacks and nightmares. And for all those who have lost family members and friends and who worry everyday about a disease that they cannot see, Ebola means fear and anxiety.
Madam Koroma said that to erase the disease its power must be tackled. She expressed enthusiasm saying that as a psychiatric nurse she feels personally connected to the workshop. The workshop focuses also on self-care and secondary trauma, because those who give help often forget to take care of themselves and suffer in silence.
IsraAID holds workshops on community resilience in Sierra Leone
IsraAID, founded in 2001, is Israel’s leading humanitarian non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to providing life-saving disaster relief and long term support. For over a decade, its teams of professional medics, search & rescue squads, post-trauma experts and community mobilizers, have been first on the front lines of nearly every major humanitarian response in the 21st century, reaching over 1 million people in 25 countries. IsraAID offers training and support programs in both developed and developing countries using Israel’s unique know-how in the fields of psychosocial support, education, agriculture and health. Today, IsraAID conducts on-going training programs in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Haiti, Kenya, Jordan and South Sudan.