Africa

Ebola crisis: Sierra Leone orphanage quarantined

Children at the St George Foundation orphanage on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone (January 2015)
Image caption Children who lost their parents to Ebola are increasingly being cared for at the orphanage

An orphanage run by a UK charity in Sierra Leone has been quarantined after one of its local staff was diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus.

Augustine Baker is said to be in a stable condition at a local treatment centre after becoming ill last week.

St George Foundation orphanage co-founder Philip Dean told the BBC that 33 children and seven staff were now in isolation.

Ebola has killed more than 9,500 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Image caption Augustine Baker's role in tackling the Ebola virus has been widely admired

The governments of the three countries have pledged to achieve zero Ebola infections within the next two months.

'Tireless worker'

"Augustine collapsed at a staff meeting and several of his colleagues helped get him to hospital," UK-based Mr Dean told the BBC.

"It's possible that they have been exposed. It's a very worrying time," he said.


Image caption St George Foundation has helped about 200 children orphaned by Ebola

Meet the children orphaned by Ebola


The BBC's Umaru Fofana in the capital, Freetown, says that the quarantine at the St George Foundation orphanage is self-imposed, and is expected to last for three weeks.

The orphanage was set up in 2004 on the outskirts of Freetown, and, until the Ebola outbreak, was mainly concerned with rescuing street children.

In the last year it has helped care for some 200 children orphaned by Ebola.

"Since the start of the Ebola outbreak Augustine has worked tirelessly to help children orphaned by the disease. He knew that he was at risk, but did the job, because it needed to be done," Mr Dean said.

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Media captionThe BBC's Tulip Mazumdar reported from St George Foundation orphanage last month

Mr Baker featured in a BBC report last month, when health correspondent Tulip Mazumdar visited the orphanage.

"A lot of people think Ebola is over, but what has happened to Augustine and the fact that last week we took in 12 children who have lost their parents to the disease shows it isn't," Mr Dean said.

Our Freetown correspondent says that Sierra Leone last week recorded 62 cases of Ebola and 52 deaths related to the disease.

The outbreak was first identified about a year ago in Guinea.

Ebola deaths

Figures up to 13 January 2016

11,315

Deaths - probable, confirmed and suspected

(Includes one in the US and six in Mali)

  • 4,809 Liberia

  • 3,955 Sierra Leone

  • 2,536 Guinea

  • 8 Nigeria

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