The National Programme Officer of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has advised individuals engaged in active case finding and creating awareness about the dangers of the Ebola virus disease to serve as good ambassadors in their places of assignment.
Mr. Eric Opoku, the UNV program officer, said, people volunteering under the UNDP-supported Community-based Initiative (CBI) should take ownership of the process to ensure that the country is declared free from the deadly EVD by the relevant and requisite authorities in the shortest possible time.
Speaking at the training of 360 Active Case Finders (ACF) under the CBI program held at the University of Liberia over the weekend, Mr. Opoku asserted that as Nigeria and Senegal were declare free of the EVD, Liberia, too, can be declared free from the EVD if every Liberian pays full attention and takes very seriously the precautionary and preventive measures.
“Volunteers are role models; people look at you because you are doing something to help your communities…not because of what you are going to gain from it materially but the fact that you want to be seen as somebody different…” Mr. Opoku said.
He told the volunteers that the manner in which they conduct themselves in their communities will determine the seriousness of community members to the Ebola awareness messages they carry to them daily.
The UNDP was proud to be part of processes that are positively contributing to the eradication of the Ebola virus disease in Liberia, he declared.
The Community-based Initiative (CBI) project is an initiative that seeks to complement the efforts of the government and other relevant Ebola response teams in Liberia.
The CBI takes cognizance of the need for community involvement in the national Ebola response and to stop the spread of the virus.
Also speaking, Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services and Head of the Ebola Emergency Incidence Management System (IMS), Tolbert Nyenswah, said the CBI is very essential and critical to the fight against the EVD in the country.
Ebola started from the communities and it must stop at the community level with the full involvement of the community members, he averred.
He told the participants to ensure that the messages are properly disseminated to the people to allow them take the necessary precautions against the EVD.
“This is not an office- based work; it is a community-based work; it means that you are to be in the field, in the various communities talking to the people….” Minister Nyenswah said.
The fight against the EVD has reached a very critical and crucial stage.
The Assistant Health Minister disclosed that the fight against the virus has reached a stage that will determine whether the country will be declared free or more people will be infected or die from the virus if the necessary measures are not strictly adhered to and observed.
Topics covered at the daylong training included social mobilization and health promotion; counseling and social support in the community; developing effective standard operating procedure for CBI; and strategy to reach hard to reach populations.
Participants in the training included representatives from various women and youth groups, the religious community, community and traditional leaders, the Liberia Boys Scouts Association of Liberia. The participants were chosen from across nine of the seventeen districts of Montserrado County.