A one-day forum of community engagement and awareness in support of the Ebola Natural History Study on close contacts and sexual partners was held at the Monrovia City Hall last Tuesday.
Organized by Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL), a joint Liberia-US clinical research partnership, the participants were made aware of the reasons for the study and its contribution to restoring peace in the country.
Dr. Jestina Doe-Anderson, providing the objective of the meeting, explained in simple English to the participants, who were mainly community dwellers, the meaning of PREVAIL and how it began, when the Liberian government after the Ebola outbreak approached the government of the United States for a joint study to find a cure and other necessities in the fight against the virus.
She told them that three centers, C. H. Rennie (Kakata), Duport Road Health Center and John F. Kennedy Medical Center, were identified by PREVAIL for the study to understand the after-effects complained by survivors, as well as providing them effective medical support.
Dr. Anderson also spoke of the achievement of the PREVAIL study and how effectively the team moved to contain two outbreaks on Duport Road and Cowfield communities, and restored Liberians’ confidence about their safety.
“Today we are more prepared to contain the virus because of the extensive examination the team has engaged in,” Dr. Anderson said. “And we are glad that all these happened because of the role that your communities played and continue to play as the study continues.”
She deliberated on the extensive support by Liberians needed for the study and encouraged full participation to ensure the successful completion of a study that brings Liberia to be part of countries to develop vaccines to protect the human race from infectious diseases.
Other speakers included Mr. Patrick Faley, president of the Ebola Survivors Network, who deliberated on ‘the role of survivors in the Ebola Natural Study’ and Dr. Khalipha Bility, who also explained the ‘monitoring and evaluation, including new and upcoming studies.’
Other facilitators included Ambassador Juli ENdee, executive director of Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP).
Participants were drawn from communities and organizations, including churches, National Muslim Council, women and youth groups, community leaders, Liberian Marketing Association, the Press Union of Liberia, and Musicians Union.
Others included National Council of Chiefs & Elders, the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, the transport union, the elderly, the Governors Council of Liberia, among others.