Traditional Chiefs and Elders of Liberia have pledged to strengthen their collaboration with government and its partners in the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.
The chiefs said they will invigorate their efforts towards the full eradication of the Ebola Virus and help restore basic health services in Liberia.
Their resolution came at the end of a weeklong consultative meeting on prevention of the virus, which took place in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in collaboration with the National Council of Chiefs and Elders, with funding from the Carter Center.
More than 120 traditional leaders from across the country were given the opportunity to consult with national and international experts to learn what has been done so far, what still needs to be done to stop the transmission of Ebola, and how traditional chiefs and elders can get involved in the fight.
The traditional leaders resolved to join the campaign to disseminate preventive Ebola messages in towns and villages throughout the country.
At the same time, the chiefs have called for empowerment of traditional leaders with logistical and financial support in order for them to undertake community outreach, conduct training of traditional mid-wives and youth volunteers in the management and handling of Ebola related cases and delivery of pregnant women.
They are also calling for inclusion of traditional leaders on all levels of Ebola related task forces across the country.
In his statement, Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly challenged traditional chiefs throughout Liberia to take leadership roles in the fight against the virus in their communities.
“Your institution is a powerful one; you must use your office to do more awareness on Ebola in your counties,” Min. Dukuly pleaded.
Meanwhile, the head of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders, Chief Zanzan Karwor, commended the Ministry of Internal Affairs for approving the meeting and the Carter Center for the sponsorship.
Chief Karwor pledged that his council will ensure their full compliance with all measures issued by the government and its partners.
For his part, the Chief of Party of the Carter Center-Liberia, Mr. Pewee Flomoku, assured the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Council Chiefs of the Center’s continuous commitment and support to traditional leaders in Liberia.
At the close of the meeting, Carter Center distributed to the traditional leaders what it referred to as ‘start-up packages’ which included megaphones, flyers/posters and cash.
“This is the beginning of your empowerment; we will work with the Minister and the Council to do more”. Mr. Flomoku assured.
Representatives from several ministries and agencies as well as partners attended the meeting and made presentations on their respective roles in the fight against Ebola.
They included the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and the Bureau of Immigration. Others were the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control-USA, UNICEF and UNFPA among others.