At an awards ceremony on December 18th last, in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown, President Ernest Bai Koroma recognized ChildFund Sierra Leone’s work in the fight against the deadly Ebola epidemic.
Billy Abimbilla, national director of ChildFund’s offices in Sierra Leone and Liberia, was on hand to accept the medal and certificate “in recognition of its support to the government and people of Sierra Leone during the outbreak of Ebola disease, especially in the operation of Observation Interim Care Centres and donation of food and non-food items to communities.”
ChildFund was among 199 organizations and individuals honoured at the State House in Freetown for their work in fighting Ebola, which claimed some 3,955 lives in Sierra Leone during 2014 and 2015. Abimbilla and Davidson Jonah, ChildFund’s field operations support director, were instrumental in opening Interim Care Centers in Liberia and Sierra Leone last year during the height of the epidemic.
Children who were exposed to the deadly virus stayed in ICC’s during their 21-day quarantine period and were cared for and observed for signs of Ebola by trained health workers, many of whom had survived the virus and were immune to it. For many children who had lost loved ones to the disease, ICCs were safe havens where they could play, receive nourishing meals and sleep comfortably.
In January 2015 ChildFund was the recipient of the Air-Link International NGO Partner of the Year Award to honour its emergency airlifts of aid to West African Nations such as Sierra Leone, at the height of the Ebola outbreak.
(Special thanks to Karifa Kamara, ChildFund Sierra Leone for this report form Sierra Leone)