The Bong County Task Force on Ebola disclosed that it has discovered at least 50 children who have lost both parents to the Ebola virus disease in Bong County.
Acquainting journalists at the office of the Bong County Health Team on the Phebe Hospital Compound yesterday, the head of the psychosocial unit of the Bong County Ebola Taskforce, Rev. G. Victor Padmore, said his statistics did not include children who lost only one parent to the disease.
Rev. Padmore informed journalists the survey was conducted in communities hardest-hit by Ebola in the county, including Barkerthela, Lorcus Farm, Taylor Town, Mawah, Civil Compound and the Millionaire Quarter Community.
The Lutheran prelate indicated that the orphans are between the ages of three months to 16 years old.
Commenting on the condition of the orphans, the clergyman described their state as horrendous, pale. He stressed that the education of some of the children should remain the paramount concern of every Liberian and called on child-friendly organizations operating in the country to help improve the wellbeing of the children.
The Lutheran cleric was quick to point out that his committee has not yet concluded findings on the number of children whose single parents died after contracting the virus.
“Our assessment was carried out in communities that were affected by the Ebola virus disease,” he said.
Rev. Padmore specified the communities scarcely affected by the disease are experiencing acute shortages of food because, according to him, the disease struck the communities during the peak of the farming season.
He also mentioned that the communities lack safe drinking water; the local inhabitants are largely surviving on streams and creeks for drinking.
“The main thing now we should be thinking of is the education of the children because they have lost both parents to the Ebola virus disease. Again they will be discriminated against and stigmatized since their parents died from Ebola” Rev. Padmore challenged.
He indicated that the number of orphans may significantly increase when the psychosocial committee of the County Ebola Taskforce shall have concluded its study. He maintained that the wellbeing of orphans would be a major challenge to the County Leadership and the Government of Liberia as well as the international partners, who are in the business of the welfare of children in post-Ebola Liberia.
Pastor Padmore then used the occasion to plead with the Liberian government and its partners to develop programs that will support and recover the disadvantaged orphans from their present state.
The psychosocial committee Chairman pointed out that most of the orphans have been discriminated and stigmatized by their peers because their parents were killed by Ebola, something he said remains a key concern after Ebola is eliminated from the country.
Rev. Padmore told journalists, he observed that children whose parents died from the virus were separated from kids whose parents were not affected by the virus during play.
The Liberian cleric reiterated his calls for more attention to be given to the orphans by the Government of Liberia.