MESSENGERS OF PEACE

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Gwendolyn Myers, Executive_web.jpg

No matter the language, the verdict is the same. There can be no progress without peace, no growth without peace, no development without peace and no healing without peace and forgiveness.

The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus will not be burnt out without peace and the cooperation of everyone.

It would take a super human coordinated effort from everyone and the support from international community, working in unity, cohesion and in peace time to burn out Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the region. We need this synergy to combat Ebola disease.

Over the weekend, Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia, through funding support from Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, conducted a three-day Ebola Education Outreach Program in four communities, including Clara Town, Newport, Buchanan and Carey Streets. The outcome of the education outreach was frightening as we discovered that most young people are still in denial and have limited information on the spread of Ebola, symptoms, prevention and control measures.

Sometimes, in unprecedented situations like this, we might have to look back, especially at the epicenter of the outbreak, to see where we are going and how we are doing. We need to re-examine our strategy to curb this disease. We also need to examine the integrated nature of EVD and its interconnectedness. The death of one Liberian affects us all.

It is our opinion that the spread of EVD is systemic and we need a systemic approach to deal with it. To prevent and control EVD, the Government of Liberia (GOL) needs to develop an excellent contact tracking system, to include weekly reporting and solicitation of support from members of the public. We need to enforce the quarantine of persons who have come in close contact with infected individual(s); we need a good laboratory system to address the issue of false negative laboratory results and we need improved as well as increase access to and strengthen our health care facilities. Efforts should be put in place to normalize governance and address on going austerity measures. The closure of schools and other public institutions affects our livelihood.

As young people, we do have a major role to play in the prevention and control of EVD. The disease has put a severe strain on our health system, our health workers and others.

We need to show restraints and adhere to measures put in place by authorities. Don’t put your family and other community in danger; don’t go around to others if you are exhibiting symptoms of Ebola. Call the health hotlines immediately and listen to your health workers; they know best how to help you.

There is need for order and orderliness. Patience, as our overwhelmed first responders put in place control measures. High standards of hygiene practices should be encouraged. We are happy to see the use of chlorinated water and soap in public places.

The need for tolerance, respect, and discipline during this unusual time cannot be overemphasized. Most importantly, we need to give support to individuals, families, communities, national and international assistance.

Ultimately, like all viral diseases, Ebola would burn itself out, don’t get burnt out with it. Be part of a collective action to burn out Ebola from the region. According to Kwame Nkrumah-the former President of Ghana- “We face neither East not West, We face forward”

We are grateful for the support received thus far, especially with the news to give the drug ZMapp to infected persons in Liberia. There is need to do more. We concur with President Obama that the Ebola virus, is controllable if we have a strong public health infrastructure. At MOP, we believe we can burn out Ebola if we have a resilient young population to provide much need education, help dispel rumors and allay fear.

Until next week, Peace First, Peace, above all, May Peace Prevail

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