Community police help stop Ebola in Guinea

Jan 26, 2015

Community police officers listen to a resident in Matoto, Guinea. UNDP helped train 450 officers to work with communities to stop Ebola’s Spread. PHOTO: UNDP Guinea

Conakry, Guinea - As Guinea looks towards recovery from the Ebola epidemic, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is training hundreds of community police officers to help keep case numbers down and prevent future outbreaks.

450 newly trained officers have begun working with communities in Matoto, in Guinea’s capital Conakry, to help stop the spread of Ebola through public awareness raising on ways to avoid infection and build more trust between the public and the security services.

‘When a member of the public finds out about a suspected case, it’s the police they call. Now the police are trained in how to react in a manner that works closely with the community in order to protect it” said Col. Mahamane Ousmane Amadou, UNDP’s international police expert in Guinea.

“If police are trained, they are more confident, and when they are confident they can safely deal with situations that may arise” he added.

Sheikh Ibrahim Youla, President of Matoto-Market, a neighbourhood in Conakry, said the greater focus on working with communities is already bearing fruit:

“The community realized the danger and felt connected to the police enough to turn themselves in. They were immediately taken to Donka hospital where they were quarantined for 21 days’ he said.

The project builds on a UNDP programme that began training border police, military, justice, park rangers and other government officials in 2010.

The UN launched an appeal for $1 billion to ensure a rapid end to the outbreak and support recovery for the first six months of 2015. The funds should support the efforts of the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as they identify and treat people affected by Ebola and re-establish essential social services and improve people’s food and nutrition security.

UNDP leads the UN’s response on Ebola recovery and has already coordinated early recovery response actions in the three most affected countries. The organization is working with partners within and outside the UN to conduct impact and recovery assessments and helping to ensure their efforts are mutually reinforcing.

UNDP has also launched its own recovery programmes that are focused on four pillars: revitalizing economies and jobs, helping the health sector to recover, strengthening the institutions that promote peace and stability, and reducing poverty and environmental degradation, which exacerbated the crisis.

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