March 2015 marks the first anniversary of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The epidemic, which hit the hardest in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, is the largest and longest Ebola outbreak in history. The epidemic has resulted in more than 23,000 cases and 9,400 deaths.
Santa Monica resident Steve McAndrew, Head of Emergency Operations for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is one of those who stepped up to battle the disease in Sierra Leone. He spent six months in 2014 spearheading operations to combat this deadly disease.
As part of the worldwide Red Cross movement, Steve was not alone. He is one of more than 350 international staff members who have been on the front lines in West Africa working closely with thousands of local Red Cross volunteers in Sierra Leone.
The five pillars of the Red Cross operation are: safe and dignified burials, community education and engagement; monitoring and contact tracing; emotional and psychosocial support, and clinical case management.
By the time Steve McAndrew left West Africa in early 2015, the number of new cases had dropped dramatically in comparison to the situation in August, but there is still no known cure for Ebola and the need continues. Learn more about the IFRC efforts and the American Red Cross relief efforts in West Africa.