‘Health System Cardinal to Post-Ebola’

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The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Julia Duncan-Cassell, has emphasized that the post -Ebola recovery agenda must focus on rebuilding and strengthening the health system of the three most affected countries.

Minister Cassell made the assertion at an occasion organized by the three Ebola-affected countries, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, on the sidelines of the Commission on the Status of Women Conference recently in New York.

The Minister indicated that, “Building the capacity of nurses, doctors and specialists and ensuring that they work in improved health facilities are key to preventing Ebola and other epidemics in future.”

She disclosed that an assessment by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health in partnership with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that the lack of adequate training in core Ebola response strategies aided   the rapid spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

According to a dispatch from the Liberian Permanent Mission at the UN, Cassel underscored the importance of the National Ebola response strategy, which, according to her, ensured the delivery of essential supplies, including personal protective equipment to the county health teams.

"As we bend the curve on the EVD, we need to rebuild and strengthen our healthcare delivery system – train community health care workers and nurses as well as doctors and specialists to care for Ebola survivors as most of them have been stigmatized in their communities," she said.

Madam Cassell said the Liberian Government, through her Ministry, is now focusing on foster care programs to address the issues of Ebola victims, especially the orphans.

This program seeks to train people within a given community to serve as foster care parents, she said, adding, "We have documented more than 3,700 Ebola orphans of which more than 1,700 are boys and 1,900 are girls."

Minister Cassell also revealed that as part of the recovery program, government has provided educational opportunities for the Ebola orphans and put in place a social safety program to accommodate the extremely poor and labor constrained families headed by females.

In her address, Guinean Gender Minister Sanaba Kaba said that the Ebola outbreak seriously affected her country to the extent that most humanitarian organizations either scaled down their activities or left the country.

She informed the forum that Guinea had recorded a total number of 4,229 orphans, and that the country had made considerable progress in social protections as well as   established and equipped transit centers for children.

Sierra Leonean Gender Minister, Moijue Kaikai, revealed that women and girls were the most affected as they were the caregivers during the height of the Ebola crisis. 

He pointed out that the government of Sierra Leone had put in place a post-Ebola strategy, which will focus on the health sector, including the human resource capacity of health workers.

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