AFRICA: Ivory Coast prepares for Ebola


With an outbreak of Ebola having killed more than 1,000 people in neighbouring Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast is preparing itself for the worst. FRANCE 24 visited the town of Sipilou, where the deadly disease is on everyone's lips.

Yet to record any confirmed Ebola cases of its own, the Ivorian government has strengthened preventative measures, especially in border towns to the country’s west.
In Sipilou, a small village on the border with Guinea, both doctors and residents fear the arrival of Ebola.
Here, health teams are working tirelessly to sensitise people to the dangers of the disease. Their message is clear: “Do not touch animals or eat bush meat."
Everyone in the town knows that the virus is close – and that they are vulnerable.
“If you eat bush meat and you have contracted Ebola – if you have had it for some time – within 48 or even 24 hours you will die,” says Dimonade Aubin, the chief of Silipou district.
“Death is there. It’s a disease without a cure. It’s that serious.”
'It could arrive at any moment'
The roads in Sipilou have been quiet for the past few weeks – day-to-day life has ground to a halt. The border with Guinea hasn’t officially closed but, in reality, few people are crossing over.
Health centres are already set up to treat suspected cases. Everyone is on high alert and there have already been some false alarms. But so far all the test results have been negative.
“It could arrive at any moment,” says Regional Health Director Doctor Seydou Doumbia.
“A week ago, we were called. So we arrived with all our protective equipment. We thought it was Ebola but it turned out it wasn’t.”

Text by FRANCE 24