WASH, health facilities, schools, trained residents turned over to county authorities
Supported by the Canadian Red Cross (CRC), the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) has conducted a robust Ebola virus disease (EVD) recovery program in Bomi County, Western Liberia that it embarked on in 2016.
“After enough strides over the years, we are grateful to the CRC for supporting us to finally bring the program to an end,” LNRCS Secretary General Saybah Tamba said.
The project aims to improve the lives of residents by constructing modern WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities, a number of health centers, schools and many other projects as well as training the residents of beneficiary towns and villages for long-term maintenance purposes in the county.
In 2014 to 2015, the Ebola outbreak devastated Liberia by creating an unusual humanitarian crisis. The scourge left a devastating impact on many people, who now need the help of the LNRCS to get back on their feet. It is in this regard that the Canadian Red Cross and the Government of Canada have since April 2016 been helping the LNRCS with recovery activities.
The project ensured the construction of several latrines; the installation of solar light; training of staff from the Ministry of Health; and support to EVD survivors, which included how to prevent violence.
At a closing program which brought together stakeholders, the CRC and LNRCS formally turned over all the facilities to the county authorities, for which Tamba said, “the facilities belong to those who deserve them the most.”
Some of the stakeholders at the ceremony included representatives of Bomi County Superintendent Samuel Brown and those from the offices of the Chief Education Officer, the District Education Officer and the Chief Health Officer. Also present were chiefs and elders of the beneficiary communities.
The Red Cross said the over 44 survivors at the center of recovery are being assigned a group of counselors and supplied a package of food and other items.
Red Cross Bomi field officer Zinnah Quaye said the 44 MOH staff from the various health facilities were trained in stress management, with 12 health facilities and schools receiving a solar light each.
“This is one aspect of the project that brought much relief to our people, especially our women, many of whom were pregnant when they came here. So they are in need of special attention. We highly appreciate the CRC for supporting this initiative,” Quaye said.
The project provided safe drinking water, including 12 hand pumps that were rehabilitated at five health centers and six schools.
“Four institutional latrines were constructed at both schools and health facilities. We were also able to train community members in hygiene promotion, hand pump repair and maintenance,” Quaye said.
He said 92 WASH volunteers assigned at the various schools, health facilities and communities were trained and received hygiene materials that were distributed to their facilities.
“Six schools and seven health facilities received hygiene materials. We also did some training in violence prevention with about 70 Volunteers benefiting,” Quaye said, adding that 20 volunteers and 10 teachers trained in violence prevention and children resilient activities are being prepared to spread the message.
“Our people were in dire need of these facilities, knowledge and materials and we are grateful to our partners who stood by us when everyone else had left to help our people. We remain forever grateful,” Tamba said.
Project delegate Pierre Lacerte said that there was no better way for his country to help the people of Liberia than ensuring that they have access to their basic needs, especially in the country’s rural setting.
Lacerte, who was certificated and gowned by the Bomi chapter of the Red Cross, lauded the collaborative efforts that ensured the successful end of the project.
Foday Sayon, a representative of the Superintendent’s office, lauded the LNRCS and the CRC for bringing such a huge project to the county, adding, “We want to be grateful for you coming here. You have indeed made a huge impact.”
Under ‘Health Promotion,’ the LNRCS officials said that 210 volunteers provided health messages and promoted best hygiene practices to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases including Ebola. An additional 260 simulation exercises were conducted to practice activating contingency plans in communities.
250 Red Cross and community contingency plans and early warning systems for epidemic outbreaks including gender diversity were developed.