The Sierra Leone Red Cross Red Cross Society is a humanitarian organization that was established in 1962 by the act of parliament to be an auxiliary to the Government in the humanitarian field, we have branches established in all district of the country with a very wide volunteer network across every district and every chiefdom of the nation and these volunteers are recruited trained empowered to be first responders in the communities.
Since establishment, the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society has been supporting the Government of Sierra Leone when it comes to several humanitarian issues including the ten year civil war the E bola outbreak, the Mudslide and several of those issues. In recent we have been supporting the Government in the fighting against Covid-19.
When we had the pandemic declared in our nation we had to mobilize our volunteers in all the districts in the country, we have been supporting lot of activities including community engagements talking them and their leaders to promote hygiene and sanitation getting them to do the basics preventive measures that have been publicized by our Government, ministry of health and NaCOVERC and doing risk communication.
We also do house to house sensitization in those villages, hard to reach places, we also help surveillance activity, and our volunteers help DiCOVERC and the government with surveillance activities in those hard to reach areas of the nation where not so many organizations are present. Also do a lot on infection prevention and control which includes training community people, training of our volunteers but also the provision of kits we are providing lot of infection prevention and control materials that have been helping several communities, villages provide them hands wash kits, doing Walsh and IC support.
We are also active in engagement and accountability precisely gathering feedback from the community, we have learnt from the Ebola response that it makes a big difference to learn what the community face so Red Cross provides a platform where community people can contact us at any time to provide feedback on our interventions, feedback on our activities, and also the intervention of other players and we are able to learn a lot from those feedbacks and also direct on our interventions.
For the Covid response precisely we have been receiving support our international partners;
Firstly we received support from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and through that support we are covering 8 districts, we also receive support from the finish Red Cross and are using that support to cover 6 districts plus we also got support from the British Red Cross we are using that to intervene in 8 districts so it’s amazing that we are receiving support from our partner.
There has been report of several amazing success stories in all of those 8 districts and the impact is huge.
Precisely we have had letters of appreciations several of the DiCOVERC in those districts appreciating the support of the Red Cross and the good work of our volunteers and I could say it’s impressive.
Coordination I can say has been very effective, Red Cross has been working with those players in all the districts and we are in all coordination meetings at the national but also at the district levels; our teams are involved in all of those coordination meetings and we ensure our activities at community levels are effectively coordinated with the relevant state and non-state players, coordination has been effective which is why I think the Government has been successful in the response to covid-19 and NaCOVERC has been very effective, thankfully the coordination is one of those things that have worked for us.
Since we got news around February 14 about the resurgence of Ebola in Guinea we have been working with the international federation to develop a preparedness plan but also to implement it. So in the coming weeks we would start activities across the five district have been identified by government to prepare our volunteers to ensure we have our fleet ready, to ensure we have our surge teams ready in case there is anything we can jump in, but even before that we want actively engage those communities sensitize them, promote hygiene and tell them the risk that we stand to face.