Amid the growing anxiety around Liberia’s ability to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) has said a community-based approach is the most appropriate medium to contain the further spread of the virus now that Liberia has reported three additional new cases.
According to the foundation, their assertion is basis on the result of the foundation’s successful implementation of its Ebola outreach and awareness initiative in 2014. During the Ebola Outbreak, the foundation said it engaged in several lifesaving activities to bolster the government’s effort in combating Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia.
“We worked with three hundred (300) community-based organizations and 23 media institutions to carry-out awareness to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Through our engagements with communities and the concerted efforts of other partners, Liberia was declared Ebola-free on May 9, 2015,” the Foundation added.
The foundation added they have partnered with the Ministry of Health (MOH)/ National Public Health Institute (NPHIL) to conduct a daylong training on COVID-19, its prevention, and its symptoms.
GPFA further said participants at the training were thirty (30) residents from fifteen (15) communities within Montserrado and Margibi Counties and at the end, they received handwashing barrels, cartoons of powder soap, and dozens of awareness stickers to be distributed in their communities.
“During the distribution of these preventive materials, we will sensitize communities on the importance of adhering to proper hygienic practices in efforts to lower the likelihood of infection. Our awareness campaign is an inclusive one that provides comprehensive education and sanitization to all communities, especially those that nation-wide campaigns might not necessarily target.”
“The target population includes older adults and those with compromised immune systems as they account for 90 per cent of the death rate. We have also partnered with various radio stations around the country to play Madam Leymah R. Gbowee; 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate and Founder/ President, GPFA’s jingle. In the jingle, Madam Gbowee talks about the severity of the virus and urges Liberians to adhere to health protocols,” GPFA said.
In a press release, the foundation said the scars of Ebola are still fresh; therefore, everyone needs to strive to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread in Liberia.
“We will continue to engage in more vulnerable communities to identify ways to help them fight the virus. As we do not have the health infrastructure to tackle this COVID-19, we must ensure communities are equipped with the resources they need to sustain and enable them to protect themselves during this crisis,” the release said.
The Coronavirus is spreading rapidly. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 12, 2020. The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) exposed Liberia’s weak health infrastructure, and four years later, Liberia’s healthcare system is still experiencing a deficit in the availability of modern equipment and trained doctors. In order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the foundation launched its Coronavirus Outreach & Awareness Initiative (COAI) on March 27, 2020. The goal is to prepare communities to combat the spread of the virus adequately while dispelling myths around the virus’ mode of transmission.