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Press Release: Taking Ebola Care Deep Into Liberia and Sierra Leone: Unitarian Universalist Organizations Respond

International human rights organization UUSC and the UUA have announced a joint nationwide fundraising campaign to help halt the devastating spread of Ebola in some of West Africa's most remote and unreached communities.

November 4, 2014

Contacts:
Media liaison: Jan Dragin, Dragin Communications – 24/7 – Cell phone: (339) 236-0679
UUSC Communications Director: Paul Twitchell, (617) 301-4355

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Taking Ebola Care Deep Into Liberia and Sierra Leone: Unitarian Universalist Organizations Respond

Focus on remote, most impoverished communities: ‘No one else may come.’

The continuum: local partners, trained health workers, health centers, rapid case detection, quality care, tracing patient contact

Boston/Cambridge, Mass. — Monday, November 3, 2014 — International human rights organization the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) have announced a joint nationwide fundraising campaign to help halt the devastating spread of Ebola in some of West Africa’s most remote and unreached communities.

In a statement today, UUSC President Rev. Bill Schulz and UUA President Rev. Peter Morales said, “Our deep concerns have called us to launch a joint Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund to assist health organizations in Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of the countries most devastated by the epidemic.”

The community-based organizations UUSC is working with will implement lifesaving plans to combat Ebola’s spread by training and equipping front line health and community engagement workers from the most remote and vulnerable communities.

The Boston-based UUA and Cambridge-headquartered UUSC say their congregations, members and donors are ready to help. “Help can’t come soon enough for impoverished and unserved communities for whom no one else may come,” said UUSC’s Schulz.

In Sierra Leone, the crisis situation is worsening with the infection of Ebola spreading up to nine times faster in rural areas of Sierra Leone than it was two months ago. In Liberia, considered the epicenter of the epidemic, the rate of new Ebola cases is now declining. But there is grave concern that infection rates will fluctuate as people lower their guard.

By January 2015, Ebola is expected to affect 1.4 million people.

In southeastern Liberia and throughout Sierra Leone, UUSC’s well-respected community-based partners will scale up a continuum of care — through an innovative frontline health worker model that includes training new health workers, strengthening established health centers, and integrating new Ebola treatment centers. Their focus will be on rapid case detection, quality patient care, and careful tracing of patient contact.

UUSC and the UUA say they will work closely with the partner teams and will continue to monitor conditions and future needs.

In Liberia and Sierra Leone, UUSC will distribute Ebola appeal funds where they can do the most good, focusing contributions on work that serves people on the margins who are often overlooked.

UUSC and the UUA also combined forces, engaging their respective constituencies and donors, in response to Typhoon Haiyan’s unprecedented devastation in the Philippines last fall.

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BACKGROUND:

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a human rights organization powered by grassroots collaboration, working throughout the United States and 15 countries worldwide. Since 1940, UUSC has fostered social, economic, and environmental justice, protected civil liberties, worked toward a world free from oppression, delivered aid with dignity, and advanced the rights of people left behind during conflicts and natural disasters.

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