‘Take Responsibility for Your Own Life’

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US Charge d’Affaires, Sheila Paskman.jpg

U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires, Sheila Paskman, has called on Liberians to take full responsibility for their lives by working in their respective local communities to achieve the health platform set up by Mercy Corps in collaboration with the Ebola Action Community Platform (ECAP2) project.

ECAP2 project objective focuses on the elimination of Ebola nationally through community led social mobilization, health education and behavior change, which made a major contribution to the containment of the deadly EVD crisis.

She made the statement over the weekend at “ECAP2 3rd Lessons Learn” conference held at a local resort in Paynesville.

“Health issues are not just ordinary issues, therefore, I urge you people to work very hard to save many lives because diseases don’t care where you are from or who you are, but jumps from person to person,” Madam Paskman said.

She also recounted the many sacrifices made by Liberians during the peak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in 2014 and acknowledged them for their community involvement, which she said contributed immensely to the eradication of Ebola from the country.

“I saw dead bodies in the streets and it was a very difficult time, but Liberians woke up and realized that there is power in their own hands. With the help of ECAP2, supported by United States Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), engaged communities to prevent the spread of Ebola in Liberia and prepared others for any outbreaks,” she noted.

She, further urged Liberians to continue the good work by building up their communities and encouraging others about health issues to prepare them for any future outbreaks. Quoting President John F. Kennedy, she said, “It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

She assured her government’s continual support to the government of Liberia, stating that “America and Liberia have a long history together and will therefore have a long future together.”

Joyce Jarwolo of Public Health Initiative of Liberia (PHIL), speaking during the conference, said during the outbreak of the EVD, most Liberians had problems using health facilities while certain parts of the country lacked health care services due to limited health centers.

She disclosed that through the ECAP2 project, her organization reached out to 52communities, creating awareness on the importance of health facilities and other health issues intended to prevent disease outbreaks and save lives in the country.

“We are grateful to Mercy Corps for such an important project which has helped our people with knowledge in health related issues. This program contributed immensely to the containment of the Ebola Virus and has created a great atmosphere for many citizens who were staying away from health facilities to visit health centers,” she said.

Madam Jarwolo described the ECAP project as successful and impactful because it has helped to educate community dwellers on the importance of good health habits and also created the space for the communities to improve their relationship with health service providers.

She stressed that through the intervention of the ECAP2 project, pregnant women are now brave to visit health centers for medical services in order to reduce maternal mortality.

There is a need for sustainability of the project, she said, stressing that more needs to be done to strengthen the health system, especially in rural parts of the country.

The Mercy Corps Ebola Community Action Platform was established in 2014 during the peak of the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia.

The conference was intended to create an atmosphere for participants to share experiences from partners.

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