The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP), has officially launched its cross-border synchronized Ebola prevention and intervention community engagement awareness in Ganta, Nimba County.
The cross-border awareness, according to Liberia Cultural Ambassador Juli Endee, is to create more understanding of the deadly Ebola virus by carrying out door-to-door social mobilization community engagements, peace building and contact tracing in four counties of Liberia bordering Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Amb. Endee described the residents of Nimba County as resilient in the fight. She praised the Incident Management System, the national supervisory body in the anti-Ebola fight, for being very effective.
Speaking at the ceremony, UNICEF Representative Joanna Clinton called on Nimbaians to engage themselves actively in the fight against the killer Ebola disease.
“We all can join this fight by reporting all sick cases to our town chiefs and not escaping to the bushes with our people when they are sick. Let’s continue washing our hands and making sure to observe all of the preventive measures that were shown us by Ministry of Health and report all cases by calling 1313,” she cautioned.
Ms. Clinton said her organization, UNICEF, will continue providing more support in making sure that Ebola is eradicated from the country so as not to have a recurrence of the virus anywhere in Liberia.
During the launch, several survivors in Small Ganta told their stories and highlighted the issue of stigmatization as a challenge to them in their communities. Some of the survivors lost almost all of their family members to the killer virus.
A 37 year-old woman, Ms. Lydia Sanagon, said it was frustrating for even one member of a family to die needless to talk about more than four to five members within a few days.
The Ebola survivor said at this time what she wants is for members of their communities to see us, Ebola survivors, as community members. “They should stop pushing us away.”
Another survivor, Amanda Konnah, 32, said “My friends, who used to come around me, sleep with me and did things together have all gone away from me. When they come, they no longer come close to me; they stand at a distance and speak to me.”
She called for more community outreach in various communities across the country to educate Liberians that those who came down with the virus cannot pass it on to others once they are declared free and certificated by the country’s health authorities.
This is the only way by which Ebola survivors can be accepted in their respective communities, the female Ebola survivor said.
Nimba County Health Officer, Dr. Collins Bowah, reminded Liberians to remain focused in the fight against the Ebola virus, adding, “It is not over until it is all over.”
He said Liberians should be on the alert and ensure that they fight the virus out of the country.
According to Nimba CHO, Liberians need to be careful about how they close borders and move about their activities. He warned that the Ebola virus disease can resurface if those preventive measures are not put into place.
He applauded the Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP) and its partners for their efforts in the fight against the Ebola virus. Cross border awareness is crucial to eradicating the virus, he declared.