The Ebola epidemic

First identified in West Africa in March 2014, the Ebola epidemic exceeds all other cases of the virus recorded on the African continent in terms of the number of persons infected, mortalities (more than 11,000) and its geographical extent. The SDC supports the countries affected and the national and international organisations involved. It continues to monitor the situation via its humanitarian programme office in Liberia.

The funds made available by the SDC have primarily benefited Liberia, the country most affected by the crisis. © SDC

Switzerland has contributed humanitarian aid amounting to CHF 32 million to the international effort to combat the Ebola epidemic. It has actively supported in a number of ways the work of the national authorities concerned, of international organisations and local partners. Its activities are focused on three primary areas of intervention.

The three primary areas of intervention upon which the SDC’s aid is structured:

  • Fighting the spread of the epidemic with prevention methods and suitable treatments 

  • Supporting health systems 

  • Reducing the knock-on effects in society and the economy

The SDC responded to the crisis at a number of levels: bilaterally at the request of the governments of the countries affected, locally by providing assistance to NGOs already well established in the area, and multilaterally by supporting UN and other international organisations.

At the bilateral level, the SDC has been mainly active in Liberia, where it has a humanitarian programme office. At the height of the crisis it sent 30 tonnes of medical protective material and enabled emergency response vehicles to be purchased.

The NGOs present on the ground and capable of undertaking health or medical activities also receive Swiss support.

At the multilateral level, Switzerland is supporting several UN organisations, in particular the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF, by providing funding and experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit.

The SDC is a partner to key actors in the regional management of the Ebola crisis: the WFP, the ICRC, UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agricultural Organization, UNMEER, Médecins Sans Frontières – Switzerland, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Swiss Red Cross and local NGOs. The Liberian government remains a crucial partner to Switzerland in the fight against Ebola.

Additional information