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Public Health

2015 EU Health Award for NGOs

Rewarding the non-governmental organisations who worked tirelessly during the recent Ebola outbreak

The European Commission's new EU Health Award for NGOs aims to recognise and reward the achievements of three non-governmental organisations which distinguished themselves through their efforts in strengthening participative democracy, active citizenship and a higher level of public health. This award was designed to reward past engagement and also to encourage the pursuit of their work within and outside EU borders.

The 2015 EU Health Award focused on rewarding the non-governmental organisations who worked tirelessly during the recent Ebola outbreak.

Their demonstration of solidarity towards the least privileged and most fragile communities suffering from the Ebola crisis–thus protecting countless others elsewhere– should be an example for all.

Making a difference in fighting Ebola

There were 26 candidate NGOs from across the European Union that were considered for the prize, applying from 9 different EU Member States. These 26 candidates were invited to the European Commission - Luxembourgish Ministerial Conference on “Ebola: lessons learnt”, which took place from the 12th to the 14th October in Mondorf-les-Bains, Luxembourg. The winners were announced during the opening session of the conference on the 12th October, in the presence of Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection and Ms Lydia Mutsch, Luxembourgish Minister for Health.

Have a look at the ceremony pictures.


1st Prize

The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA)

Emergency medical response to the Ebola Virus Disease

ALIMA’s regional emergency intervention to Ebola covered three critical aspects: it addressed the most immediate need by opening a complete Ebola project (40bed ETC and outreach activities) in Guinea’s Forested region, participated in containing the international propagation of the outbreak (infection and prevention control measures in Mali and Senegal), and contributed to medical research by conducting a clinical trial on an anti-Ebola treatment with the French public research institute Inserm.

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2nd Prize

Concern Worldwide

Safe and Dignified Burials Programme, Freetown, Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, Concern is a key member of the Ebola Response Consortium of NGOs in Sierra Leone led by IRC. As part of this consortium, Concern took over the management of 10 burial teams. This includes the management of two cemeteries and all the grave digging staff. In total Concern has facilitated the burial of over 13,500 people across the two cemeteries: Kingtom and Waterloo. All bodies buried at these sites were in individual graves and are marked with the details recorded and provided to families. In addition, Concern educates and advocates against illegal burials. There have been 0 infections among burial staff.

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3rd Prize

Spanish Red Cross

West Africa Ebola outbreak relief operation

The Spanish Red Cross has provided a comprehensive, simultaneous and integrated approach at both, international and national levels. Different activities were developed to address several aspects of the disease, covering from direct response to Ebola patients in the affected countries to public health, population awareness and health monitoring of irregular migrants from the affected areas to the EU.

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The areas on which the call for proposals focused were the following:

1. Initiatives that benefitted the health of EU citizens and the EU health workforce (including training, communication activities, preparedness and response, etc.).

2. Initiatives that worked towards the detection, control and/or elimination of the disease in the emergency area. These could serve to enhance EU preparedness and response due to their transferability in case of an outbreak or any serious health threat in the EU/EEA territory.


Candidates NGOs

Action Medeor e.V

Set-up and appropriate utilisation of an Ebola treatment unit in co-operation with GerLib Clinic, Monrovia, Liberia

Medeor procured special isolation tents from a renowned manufacturer. The grounding was prepared and additional supplies were acquired, for example personal protection equipment, disinfecting materials and bed sheets for the Ebola treatment units. 116 health workers were trained in all aspects of Ebola prevention and treatment. By topping up the relatively low salary of healthcare providers, Medeor assured the quality of healthcare.

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Amref Flying Doctors

Ebola response in Guinea: community based interventions

Fourteen community-based organisations were identified and recruited to carry out community mobilisation activities. 160 volunteers paid 1170 home visits, and informed over 10,000 people about Ebola, including basic prevention methods, the importance of referral and safe treatment. The Amref approach created demand for support from neighbouring communities and authorities. The government requested Amref’s support in ‘other areas where communities were reluctant to accept humanitarian aid’.

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Fighting Ebola effectively through an integrated community approach

BØRNEfonden's overall strategy is based on a sustainable, long-term development cycle focusing on building resilient communities using four intervention areas: Education, Income Generation, Children's Rights and Health. The Community Based Organisations operate as resources and as supervisors. They work hand-in-hand with local healthcare providers in encouraging and assisting potential patients to use the official healthcare structures instead of turning to traditional healers.

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CAP Anamur

Ebola admission and isolation ward, observation interim care centre and hygienic measures in slums of Freetown

Cap Anamur's presence in Sierra Leone allowed it to build a separated Ebola patient admission and isolation ward alongside the Ola During Children's Hospital. The social workers team, with the support of 20 Ebola survivors, established a complete shelter for children who had come into contact with Ebola patients or who were orphaned due to the epidemic. Cap Anamur introduced hygienic measures in the slums of Freetown in order to prevent the epidemic from propagating in the area.

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Caritas Italiana

Caritas' response to the Ebola Epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone

Caritas Italiana and its affiliate Caritas Internationalis appealed to international church-related donors and were able to secure Personal Protective Equipment, medications, and funds for risk incentive pay for staff, and initiating community education to counteract panic and the stigmatisation of those already infected, the survivors and their families and for offering material and pastoral assistance to people, particularly those put into 21-day quarantine, and for assisting the World Health Organization to revise its “Guidelines for Safe and Dignified Burials” to implement them in the field.

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Geographic Information System officers for Médecins Sans Frontières' Ebola response

Geographic information system officers were sent to Guinea through Médecins Sans Frontières; they produced numerous amounts of maps for this previously poorly mapped area. The maps included basic orientation maps but also specialised maps that visualised population density or the spread of the disease. Based on this information, Médecins Sans Frontières programme staff was able to respond to the outbreak faster, in a more targeted manner.

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European Federation of Nurses (EFN)

European Union health professionals’ perceptions of preparedness for Ebola and infectious diseases of high consequences

By collaborating closely with Spanish General Nursing Council and the Internal Council of Nurses, the European Federation of Nurses participated in key meetings at the EU level, to evaluate the Ebola crisis and consider what can be introduced to increase safety and to reduce the risks for the nurses. Additionally, the Federation worked on identifying the existing gaps of preparedness and supporting the European Commission in designing capacity building seminars for nurses in the field.

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Emergency ONG Onlus

An intensive care unit for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone

Emergency ONG Onlus staff of the Surgical and Peadiatric Centre was specifically trained in Ebola Virus Disease oriented infection prevention control measures for containing the spread of the disease. The hospital was completely reorganised to minimise the risk of infection. The NGO expanded with the opening of the First Aid Post in Waterloo, where 90 healthcare operators were trained in infection prevention control measures and contact tracing techniques.

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Fundación Juan Ciudad

Let’s stop Ebola in West Africa

Juan Ciudad NGO has developed its activity in the fight against Ebola through two hospitals in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Both hospitals are referral centres in their countries and their role has been crucial during the epidemic. They remained open during the first period of the outbreak, when the resources and expertise were scarce and the majority of the health facilities had collapsed.

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German Doctors e.V

Ebola emergency assistance: Disease-control and maintaining medical healthcare in the catchment area of the Serabu Catholic Community Hospital (Sierra Leone)

German Doctors e.V provided and contributed to healthcare in the catchment area of the Serabu Catholic Community Hospital by taking actions such as the procurement of an additional ambulance and the individual consultation and inspection of the level of safety measures taken by 46 peripheral health units. Based on the results of the visits, the 11 weakest peripheral health units received follow-up training to strengthen the facilities' capacities.

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Social mobilisation action consortium community based action against Ebola

In Sierra Leone, Goal conceptualised and led the development and rollout of a social behaviour change approach that uses a triggering mechanism to provoke communities to create and act upon their own plans to prevent, detect and manage Ebola. This resulted in the behaviour change around safe burials, early treatment, and social acceptance of Ebola survivors.

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Handicap International

Ambulance fleet management and house decontamination

The organisation developed an ambulance fleet that ensured the quick and safe transport of suspected patients to holding centres where laboratory tests were pursued, and from holding centres to treatment centres. In addition, the houses and buildings that came into contact with Ebola patients went through a rigorous decontamination by a sprayer trained by Handicap International.

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I.S.A.R. Germany

Establishment of two Ebola treatment units in Liberia

I.S.A.R. Germany significantly increased the treatment capacities in Liberia, being one of the first EU organisations to be present on the scene. Within a few days, the Ministry of Health could take over a fully functioning isolation unit, thereby partically containing the spread of Ebola and providing a quality treatment environment.

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International Medical Corps UK

Emergency intervention and training initiative to prepare for and manage the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa

International Medical Corps UK partnered with the Government of Mali to develop an Ebola response hub for French-speaking Africa from which International Medical Corps UK can deploy assets to support countries considered most vulnerable to a new outbreak.

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Manos Unidas

Joining efforts towards the reduction and elimination of Ebola in Sierra Leone

Manos Unidas joined by Caritas Freetown embarked on a long-term Ebola reduction strategy called the "Ebola education and sensitization program in the Western Area Rural District (Sierra Leone)." Its aim was to curb the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone by strengthening self-help capabilities and cooperation with public structures.

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Masanga UK

An intuitive digital training platform for enhanced infection prevention and control training for health professionals and community workers

Masanga UK has brought together a partnership – the Masanga mentor Ebola initiative which has developed "ebuddi", a digital tool kit that has been designed to provide a virtual classroom for infection prevention control measures and control skills for healthcare workers. It can be adapted to reflect different cultures and languages.

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Community collaboration for a holistic Ebola response in Kuntorloh Community, Sierra Leone

Medair chose to partner with the Kuntorloh community to build upon their mobilisation efforts. Community collaboration led to a rapid 5-week setup of a 20-bed Ebola treatment centre. In all, Medair hired 120 community members, including 20 survivors, to care for the 252 patients admitted. The Ebola Treatment Centre had a 51% case fatality rate (lower than the national average) and not a single patient (based on a 21-day follow up) nor a local or international staff member was infected with Ebola from exposure at the treatment centre.

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Medical Mission Institute

Multifaceted response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa

The Medical Mission Institute supported local healthcare institutions in Sierra Leone and Liberia, implemented pre-deployment training for international staff, instructed German public health staff on how to prepare for possible case, and operated an innovative online library, amongst various other responses to the Ebola crisis.

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Médicos del Mundo España and Doctors of the World UK

Medicos del Mundo Spain and Doctors of the World UK, emergency response to Ebola

Médicos del Mundo partnered with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health, the National Ebola Response Committee and district authorities to enable social mobilisation by engaging with communities and Infection Prevention Control methods to regulate the outbreak.

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Plan International Deutschland e.V

Reducing mortality and morbidity related to the Ebola Virus in Liberia and minimising the impact on affected children, families and communities through social mobilisation

Plan’s response to fight against Ebola in Liberia consisted in distributing WASH kits', providing psychosocial support to children in emergencies, ensuring the continued education of children despite the crisis and assisting with food security, continued livelihoods and social mobilisation.

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Pre-departure training for healthcare workers deploying to Sierra Leone

RedR responded to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone by delivering pre-deployment trainings to over 350 healthcare workers from the National Health Service, the Foreign Medical Teams and research teams to prepare them for deployment to Sierra Leone as part of the United Kingdom’s Ebola response.

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Save the Children Netherlands


Save the Children Netherlands, with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the support of the web designer Netwerven, established the recruitment website "Ebolajobs". The goal was to identify the staffing needs of Dutch based NGOs in the Ebola affected region and match this to qualified and experienced aid workers looking to support the Ebola response.

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UFF Humana

Ebola corps

UFF Humana carried out a six-month initiative to raise awareness and prepare communities in case the Ebola Virus Disease crossed over the border of Guinea Bissau.

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Read the full booklet of this edition