The verdict was unanimous. To measure the impact of the recent Ebola epidemic on the Liberian child requires an ethnographic study of what took place, what post Ebola programmes are in place and set priorities for children.
Anecdotal reports indicate that the Liberian child bears the brunt of the Ebola Epidemic. Many children lost their lives to Ebola and survivors either lost either parents or one to Ebola. Others lost loved ones to Ebola.
Majority of the children who survived the Ebola outbreak have no access to housing, health care, education and food. School enrollment and attendance have declined as a result of death, relocation and inability of parents to pay increasing school fees. Most of these children are subjected to various forms of abuse and neglect.
Child labour following the outbreak of EVD is on the rise and so is gender based violence against children. For most Liberian children-especially those in Monrovia and surrounding environment, hunger, lack of shelter, psychosocial support and medicines are triggering needs.
Ongoing programmes for children affected by the Ebola Epidemic are severely deficient as these programmes are not based on accurate data and information and are not sustainable.
With so much suffering from Ebola Outbreak in Liberia, the care of children orphaned by the Ebola Virus Disease deserves a prominent place in the post Ebola recovery programme. The Ebola outbreak sheds light on the need to do more and the urgency required to alleviate the impact of the epidemic. We need to invest in high quality, timely and accurate studies that would guide the development of effective programmes for children.
We need to build a system of support for children and strengthen the capacity of child care givers, educational institutions and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) to meet the growing demands (post Ebola) of children in Liberia.
The integration of children’s rights in key peace and development programmes can take various forms and at Messengers of Peace Liberia- we begin with your support to the “Ebola Educates” Campaign in kind through your stories or with your generous cash donation. We would like to encourage everyone to focus much attention to the plights of children who one way or the other survived the Ebola Epidemic.
Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia is ready to commit its resources to support measures for alleviating the impact of the Ebola Virus Disease on the Liberian child. We have over a thousand volunteers spread across the country ready and willing to support projects for children affected by Ebola. There is a need to engage young people.
We take this opportunity to call on everyone, every group, every organization and every Country to assist us as we rebuild confidence in the health and social systems and reestablish trust as well as create a system for rapid response to future outbreak.
Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates: Mobility and the transmission of diseases across borders -”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.