UPDATE: Emergency Operating Center Pilot in Golu

For those of you following the Emergency Operating Center (EOC) Pilot Project, that we have been working, below is a quick update. From a health standpoint, Ebola has finally started to make a decline in daily reported cases. Schools in Sierra Leone are talking about re-opening and in the meantime the radio program will stay in effect. So things are headed in a much more positive direction than before the new year. With that said, there is still a ways to go to get Sierra Leone back to where it was before this devastating setback.

TVL's long time trusted partner, SBTS Group, will be sending an employee up to Golu this week to assess the situation and from there, we will jointly discuss the best strategy to launch the EOC pilot. This is a project that we both believe the CDC would like to see to help with today's crisis and tomorrows. There are long term plans to roll the same EOC template out across the country in various rural communities, if this pilot can prove to be a success in Golu. The goal of this project is to decentralize the response and reduce response times for emergency health reports. Currently, there is one response center in Freetown which feeds information out to the rest of the country. A faster response time is needed in order to get ahead of a major health crisis such as the Ebola outbreak. By installing EOC's across the country the response time should be able to be reduced.

In addition to SBTS Group leading the charge on the EOC pilot project, they have also graciously offered to provide Golu with a software that will track student illness reports per school. With schools re-opening and groups of people starting to gather again, before Ebola is completely gone, it will help give parents and educators peace of mind knowing that this type of information is being tracked.

As more updates come up we will continue to update you on this project.

TVL Meeting in Bundobu: Looking Towards The Future

This week TVL had a meeting in Bundobu to discuss future plan's for Golu and TVL. Our resource center volunteer in Golu, John Try met up with Mike O'Neill, Director, Global Safety and Security for Save The Children and long time Golu resident and friend of TVL's founder, Mr. Fillie.

Currently Mike is busy in Sierra Leone helping to set up an Ebola Hospital for the rest of the month. During his off time, he was able to meet with us to help strategize current and future opportunities for Golu and TVL.

TVL is currently working on raising funds to purchase and distribute radio's to families in Golu with school aged children so they can take part in the Ministry of Education's radio education program. This is a very affordable program and will provide the opportunity for children to catch up on their studies since schools are closed due to the Ebola crisis. You can make a contribution to this program here. Just $25 will get 1 radio and 2 batteries for a family in Golu.

Below are some more photo's from the meeting.


Golu Update - Post 3 day door to door health check


We got an update from Golu and thankfully, there are still no cases of Ebola. The people are well educated and taking precautions to stay safe. The three day door to door health check extravaganza over the weekend resulted in 112 new Ebola tests in the country, of which 49 tested positive. Many believe that the three day house to house health checks were successful in helping the country to bring the Ebola crisis under control. During this time health professionals were handing out soap and rumors spread that the soap was laced with Ebola, intended to infect people. One of the challenges the Sierra Leonian government and International health agencies are facing, is gaining the trust of everyone and getting them to follow the suggested precautions to prevent further spread instead of listening to these rumors. For the most part people are back to their "normal" lives. They are still staying close to home, avoiding big gatherings and limiting their travel but shops and markets are open for business. There are talks of another door to door health check in October but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

The Village Link continues to work with our partnership to plan on the installation of the digital library once the crisis is under control. Lots of work to do!

A Prayer From Golu to TVL

The elders and chief of Golu recited a Muslim prayer for my safe journey with loving kindness. We have much to learn about religious tolerance and the gracious acceptance of "difference" from the folks in Sierra Leone. Below is a short video of this prayer.