MESSENGERS OF PEACE

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Since the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in March, it has become critical that individuals, families and communities, play an important role in providing basic hand washing facilities and services to their constituencies. We recognize that when given reliable information and facilities, people are more likely to contribute to improved health outcomes and reduction in the spread of Ebola.

Every community has both rights and responsibilities for action against Ebola. As individuals, we have the responsibility to take the best possible action to ensure the health of our families and community is protected. In return, they have the right to expect the health system to provide the services and enabling environment that will allow them to take those actions.

Improving awareness, knowledge and community involvement is one of the thrusts of preventive and control measures. This includes both the rights of the public to have access to quality health care services such as Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) as well as the right to healthy environments.

The strengthening of community awareness and involvement has been an important feature for the current reduction of Ebola epidemic in Liberia. We are happy to note that most communities have taken the responsibility to take the best possible action to ensure they remain healthy and prevent the spread of Ebola.

Now that the entire world has woken up to the dangers of Ebola epidemic, the task of eradicating the disease is feasible through knowing your rights and responsibilities as well as through international collaboration which at the moment needs strengthening.

Safe and health-supportive environments including access to safe health facilities-ETUs, sanitation, and protection against Ebola are all means to provide equitable conditions for maintaining and improving health and quality of life for all people.

Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia has been particularly impressed by the willingness of all community-based organizations; youth-based organizations and Non-governmental organizations to be involved in health actions that involved them.

As young people, it is our responsibility to, promote credible and accurate information on Ebola; at the same time we also should help address issues of mistrust, alley fear, misconception and enforce preventive health measures. The Ebola epidemic is controllable if we take our rights and responsibilities seriously. The dissemination of accurate information on Ebola prevention and response is not only a right but it is critical.

The downward curve of the Ebola statistics has been attributed to the responsibilities of frontline workers and the support from hundreds of volunteers across the country that have been working with various communities or committees established at national level and local levels to put in place structures, systems, processes and procedures to enable everyone to fight this Ebola virus disease.

Our dialogue and message for the week centers on the need for Liberians to work as one community with entrenched rights and responsibilities for good hygienic practices of hand washing and disinfecting; safely caring for the sick, helping government to trace contacts and making burial practices safe. According to the World Bank President-Jim Yong Kim, “The world needs to do much more to respond to the Ebola Crisis”

Let us conclude by applauding the decision of the Supreme Court to stop the senatorial election scheduled for 16 December 2014 and wish to use this opportunity to reiterate our call to the Government of Liberia to strengthen its fight against the deadly Ebola virus by reopening our educational institutions.

Until next week when we bring to you another piece on dialogue amongst peace messengers: Community-based Interventions, we would like to encourage everyone to take this epidemic very seriously and be part of the drive to stopping Ebola. We look forward to 2015 that is free of the Ebola virus disease, of individuals and communities knowing their rights to health and basic civil responsibility.

Liberians must do all to eradicate Ebola so that we can continue on our path of stability.

Peace First, Peace above all and May Peace Prevail on earth.

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