Ebola: public reluctance hinders vaccination
Guinea has been facing a resurgence of the Ebola virus since February 13. The population's reluctance to be vaccinated may hamper response efforts. The Swiss children's relief organisation Terre des hommes is supporting the health authorities in the vaccination awareness campaign among communities affected by the epidemic.
Since February 13, Guinea has been facing a resurgence of the Ebola virus. The country is already struggling with measles and yellow fever epidemics, not to mention the Covid-19. The situation is dramatic and puts the health system under great pressure; neighbouring countries are holding their breath.
The fear left by the Ebola epidemic of 2014 is still vivid. The Swiss children's aid organisation Terre des hommes (Tdh) was already standing by the Guinean population to overcome this violent peak, which has brought West Africa to its knees with more than 11,300 deaths. After contributing to the response to Covid-19 in the country, Tdh was asked by regional authorities to support the Ebola response in the sub-prefectures of Nzérékoré, Lola and Beyla. Its objective: to deconstruct rumours about the virus and the vaccine and to raise awareness among the population so that they adopt the measures against the Ebola virus.
"There are rumours that the vaccine and hand-washing devices are being used by the government to spread the disease among the population. These rumours fuel public reluctance to be vaccinated and create distrust of the authorities. They need to be identified and deconstructed to gain community buy-in. The lack of treatment and the lack of sanitary facilities make the situation extremely urgent,’ underlines David Bridier, Head of the Tdh delegation in Guinea.
The population’s confidence in the vaccine is necessary to contain the epidemic and prevent it from reaching neighbouring countries, as it did in 2014. A painful memory that makes its mark on West Africa history.