Children's fund takes fight to Ebola with $500m appeal

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Taking the fight to Ebola is going to cost the UN children's agency $500 million until next June, it said on Friday.

At the launch of an expanded appeal for funds, UNICEF explained why the money is needed in the three worst affected West African countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Here's the UN agency's spokesperson Sarah Crowe:

"We know that it's not possible to treat our way out of this epidemic, so communities' involvement is absolutely key, which is why this appeal is to support 300 community centres, so it's working with communities to be able to able to change their behaviour… so it takes some time from the time of awareness, the knowledge and the attitudes being changed, to actually implementing a change in the behaviour itself. But the trends are very positive."

Initially the cash will be used to promote early isolation facilities for the sick and safe burials.

Raising awareness about Ebola is a major objective too.

And in an effort to engage communities, the UN agency wants to train 60,000 volunteers and deploy them in house-to-house campaigns.

The funding is also needed to maintain essential protective equipment for health workers and reunite approximately 10,000 children whose parents have died from Ebola with other family members.

UNICEF's Ms Crowe said that orphaned children had been shunned by their communities at the start of the outbreak in Liberia.

But "the majority" of those placed in care had now found new homes with relations as knowledge, awareness and understanding of the disease had improved, the UN official explained.

Schools that have been used as quarantine centres must also be disinfected so that children can return, UNICEF said, adding that teachers would be trained to deal with future outbreaks.

So far the UN agency has received 200 million dollars for the appeal, which it hopes to roll out until June 2015.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’51″

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