The Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC), for Women’s Empowerment, has officially launched an awareness campaign called “You Can Stop Ebola -Women Working Toward Zero Cases” in four communities in Monrovia and its environs.
ABIC and its partners indicate that as complacency starts to engulf Liberians in the fight against Ebola, especially in public places, the campaign’s aim is to intensify anti-Ebola awareness in market places. It is also providing logistical support for four major markets, including Jorkpen Town Market, LBS Community Market, ELWA Community Market, and Du-Port Road Market.
The campaign will ensure that these major markets that it has selected will benefit from regular collection of garbage, intense awareness and sensitization about Ebola, its prevention and control.
The initiative is being undertaken by several institutions, including the Leadership Development, International Peace & Security in collaboration with the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund (SMWF), Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), and the Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP).
A release from ABIC states that nearly five months since the outbreak of Ebola severely intensified in the country, women have been mostly affected by the virus due to their role as caregivers in homes and their vulnerability especially in market places.
ABIC Establishment Coordinator, Cllr. Yevette Chesson Wureh, said that in the midst of the Ebola crisis, women are “breadwinning for their families in the shackles of economic adversity created by the Ebola virus across the country.
“The prevailing evidence is that most of the market women have not been trained on the preventive measures of Ebola thus leaving them unprotected and vulnerable in market places and communities,” she added.
“We cannot be complacent as our number of infected cases decreases. We must remain vigilant and continue to protect ourselves and families against Ebola. Our sponsor, the Urgent Action Fund has recognized this important ongoing need to educate and support women at this crucial time. We thank them,” Cllr. Wureh stated.
The ABIC boss indicated that Liberia is still in a situation where no one can predict the outcome of Ebola; adding, “Ebola is real; it is dangerous and has no cure. It is still in Liberia.”
Noting that the disease has killed over 2000 people in Liberia, with majority of the dead being women, Cllr. Wureh said “we must not neglect the preventive measures such as washing hands, keeping our distance, and avoiding personal contact especially with sick people showing the following symptoms: vomiting, running stomach, fever headache, muscle pains, rash and red eyes, no contact with dead bodies. This must be our daily recitation,” she warned Liberians.
With the erection of hygiene stations in some market places, Cllr. Wureh said, the issue of lack of training of market women and sensitization on clean and safe environment still need serious attention as the preventive measures of Ebola also demand cleanliness.
She meanwhile disclosed that for Ebola to be 100% eradicated from Liberia, there should be an organized women’s sector such as the market women who must be empowered with anti-Ebola logistics, Training of Trainers (TOTs) and the creation of an enabling environment for market women’s participation in the fight against Ebola.
“Until Liberia is declared Ebola free, we have to continue to sensitize and educate so as to provide a clean and safe environment for market women, who are mostly bread winners and caretakers of their children until we can stop Ebola and work towards Zero cases,” she stated.
Monrovia City Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo described the awareness campaign as an initiative that will help empower market women in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.
Mayor Mvogo urged all Liberians not be complacent with the reduction in new cases but must continue to observe the preventive measures.