UN: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador praises communities' support in combating Ebola

New York, US (PANA) - UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador and actor Orlando
Bloom has praised the efforts of communities and youth and religious organisations, who
have been combating the deadly Ebola virus in the affected West African countries.

In a statement issued on Tuesday in New York, at the end of a four-day visit to Ebola-affected
communities in Liberia, Bloom said: "Everyone I met was determined to beat Ebola so
that they can resume their normal lives."

The UNICEF envoy, who had held meetings with religious and youth leaders in Liberia's
capital, Monrovia, stated that "communities have been at the centre of the fight against
Ebola and must continue to be supported because of their crucial role in getting to zero
cases."

The statement said Bloom met representatives of "A-Life", a peer education project in
a poor and densely populated neighbourhood in Monrovia, and representatives of A-Life
explained how their volunteers had reached more than 25,000 people, including adolescent
girls and boys, raising awareness on how community members could avoid getting ill and
stop the spread of the virus.

He also visited a primary school in a severely affected community on the border with
Sierra Leone, where he saw Ebola school safety protocols in action, having been
introduced when schools reopened after a seven-month shutdown.

The protocols, introduced with UNICEF support, aim to reduce the risk of transmission
of a disease that has infected more than 24,000 people, including over 5,000 children and
has killed nearly 10,000.

The protocols involve taking children’s temperatures when they arrive at school and
making them wash their hands before entering the classroom.

UNICEF said that, while Ebola cases have been declining in the sub-region, the battle is
far from over. It noted that as the fight to eradicate the disease continues, efforts to rebuild
health, education and social protection systems are being prioritised.

Bloom added: "Because of this outbreak, a million children in Liberia have had
their school year cut in half, and they are excited to be back in the classroom, but the
precautions that every single one of them must follow every day are a reminder of the
need to remain vigilant."

The actor, well-known for roles in blockbuster films such as 'The Lord of the Rings'
and 'Pirates of the Caribbean', became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in October
2009.
-0-   PANA  AA/AR  24Mar2015

24 march 2015 16:56:52




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