Benin’s Ministry of Health is reporting unconfirmed cases of the Ebola virus in the country, believed to have been brought by travelers from neighboring Nigeria. In response to the growing threat, Dagbe is mobilizing our staff to educate communities of central Benin to take precautions against the disease.
Benin shares a border with Nigeria and is situated in close proximity to the Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, where several cases of the virus have now been confirmed. The Benin-Nigeria border is relatively porous, and the central Benin region where we work is positioned near cross-border trading routes. We’ve cited this proximity to the border as a contributing factor to local child trafficking issues; it now also serves as a threat to the spread of the virus.
Our team is prepared to do what it can to prevent the spread of Ebola among the populations we serve. First, we have worked with our staff and the kids we serve to ensure they understand how the disease is transmitted, how to avoid exposure, and what to do in the event of a suspected case.
Second, we are working in partnership with local radio to educate the community at large on measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Dagbe will launch a grassroots education campaign in villages throughout the area in the coming days, leveraging our network to communicate the precautions. Our partnership with the Radio Rurale Locale de Ouèssè, the primary source of information in central Benin, will amplify our efforts by bringing the message to a wider audience, particularly remote villages and farms.
The people of West Africa are in our thoughts during this difficult time, particularly the region’s healthcare workers who are working to care for victims despite the risks. Bonne santé à tous.