More than 1,000 children have died from the disease. Even more have lost parents, grandparents and siblings.Many children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola since the start of the outbreak in West Africa, it's one of the first obstacles that must be overcome if West Africa is to recover.“Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West & Central Africa, after a two-week visit to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned. Orphans are usually taken in by a member of the extended family, but in some communities, the fear surrounding Ebola is becoming stronger than family ties.”As hope grows in West Africa due to decreasing Ebola infections, there are many obstacles to overcome; devastated health care systems, loss of education and distressed social structures face all those who have lived through the Ebola outbreak. The strongest direction to forward requires the participation of all communities to reknit the fabric of the lives and kinship ties that were functioning before Ebola.
Some 16,600 children are registered as having lost one or both parents, or their primary caregivers to Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but less than 3 per cent have had to be placed outside family or community care, UNICEF said today. “Since overcoming their initial fears and misconceptions about Ebola, families have been showing incredible support, providing care and protection for children whose parents have died,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “This shows the strength of kinship ties and the extraordinary resilience of communities at a time of great hardship.”