Health  Liberia Project #17833

Equip Liberians to End Ebola

by Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Equip Liberians to End Ebola
Thermometers Giveaway to Beautiful Elem Students
Thermometers Giveaway to Beautiful Elem Students

On May 9th, 2015, Liberia was initially declared EBOLA free by the World Health Organization (WHO), after one year of serious health emergence due to the outbreak of one of the world’s deadly virus, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Liberians were very exhausted as the result; they celebrated in churches and other places of worship to give thanks to God. Not with standing, lots of people wept as they retrospect on the trauma they went through over the period due to the loss of their entire family members and friends.

Unfortunately, by the end of June the same year, a new case of Ebola was pronounced.  The medical alert in Liberia went back to square one as foreigners and citizens expressed disappointment and wonder at what was happening again. Our regional and international students, who had planned to come back home and serve their communities, could no longer come home. Nevertheless, we did not give up; we held ourselves together and continued the fight with courage that we will finally be declared free after completing the ensuing 42 days toward being declared EBLA-free once more.

THE SECOND FIGHT TO FINALLY ELIMINATE EBOLA

The second emergence of the EBOLA Virus resulted to more solidarity between communities. This solidarity led to the active participation between community members and community based organizations in the fight of the endemic. The overwhelming belief was that people had been too relaxed about the prevention protocols on keeping the EBOLA Virus Disease out after we’d been declared free of the EVD the first time.  As such, GPFA went back to work along with our partner Community-based Organizations and Media Institutions to continually preach the non-complacency messages on how to continue to prevent ourselves from catching the disease and help our communities in eliminating EVD.

During our interaction with communities, religious groups, medical groups, and media institutions, we reminded them that our neighboring countries - Sierra Leone and Guinea are still affected with cases of EVD, a fact that places us at a continued risk due to poor Border Control measure by the Government. We encouraged our communities to continue the daily washing of hands and utilizations of other EVD prevention control methods. With the good work from communities and other organizations, Liberia reached a point of being free at last.

 

WOMEN IN THE FOREFRONT: RURAL, RELIGIOUS AND MEDIA GROUPS

WE were excited to host visitors from other organizations in and out of the country, who sought to understand how GPFA worked specifically with women Groups in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.  Some came to hear of some accounts of how women effectively used their status as daughters, mothers, wives, sisters, leaders teachers, etc., in society to help combat the EVD. GPFA invited women groups to share their experiences with our visitors concerning the role their organizations played during the EBOLA Endemic. Women groups from the areas of health, religion, media and local community based groups who benefitted from the small grants were present to give their thoughts.

 

Health Partners

Our health partners explained that during the EBOLA outbreak they were mobilizing and creating awareness as her institution trained local structure within the communities in order to be knowledgeable about the EVD due to it being a new phenomenon to Liberia. She highlighted that in the beginning, people were unaware of the effect of the disease and how to manage it but despite them not knowing how to manage the virus, they were enthusiastic in working in their communities. The women groups carried out sensitization Jehovah witness-style. The Health Practitioners explained that people obtained knowledge in the washing hand procedures which resulted into the decrease of EVD.

 

Religious Groups

The representatives of religious groups shared that the church had prayer time by organizing seminars and inviting other partners, an act in itself that was intended to educate their members about the disease as well as to encourage them to go out and spread the message on how to avoid contracting the EVD within their. Gatherings like revivals and crusade where church leaders carried out deliverance service (lying of hands on people) were mandatorily cut off until Liberia could be declared EVD free.  They noted that their members were sent out to clinics to educate people about the disease and spread the message of the EVD prevention protocols.  It was further shared that the church also extended their campaign to their Muslim religious leaders and partners to ask all who follow the tradition of bathing dead bodies to cease and desist from said practice as the EVD is spread via that means also. 

 

Rural CBOs

Representatives from our Rural Community-based organizations stated that they were happy to report that because of the training and process of outreach on EVD prevention protocols, their communities had been successful in establishing a new and continuous behavioral change: the washing of hands.; During their EVD prevention awareness campaign, they made sure to carry the message of-no handshakes, no hugging, no new visitors from out of town or other communities, certain areas became no go zones.  They were able to ensure that sick people were been quarantined and a contract tracing process established to avoid the spread of EVD.  

 

The Media & EVD

Our Media representative shared that the media played a significant role in both the urban and rural areas as they helped spread EBOLA prevention messages in the many different Liberian vernacular so that those who cannot speak English could also understand the EVD prevention protocols.   She further explained that the  media was not only limited to covering events at GPFA but also working with the CBO-partner groups around communities as a follow through from their end, thereby enhancing and helping to spread the message through widespread coverage and ascertaining that EVD got kicked out of Liberia.

 

Overall, our outreach work was embraced in some communities while other communities rejected them.However, community inhabitants were convinced that it was everybody’s business to ensure that the virus was eradicated from Liberia, especially after seeing the high death toll.  As some Liberians put it,  it was not the amount of ETUs Unit that were built or the amount of Health workers in it, it was just about people being sensitized about EVD and taking it into their own hands. And with our committed partners in the fight against the EVD and the decisiveness of the Awareness and Outreach Campaigns, we are happy to report that finally the fight against the deadly EBOLA Virus Disease was successfully handled and we are now trying to pick up the pieces and get back to our normal everyday lives.  We are hopeful that henceforth, the preventive methods still play a major role in the lives of Liberians;

 

 

HELPING CHILDREN ORPHANED BY EBOLA

The recovery period in every crisis, is a period to take seriously, because during this period, infected people are traumatized and children are left as orphans with no hope for a better future. During the EVD crisis, children lost both parents. With the death of both parents these children are left in the wilderness without knowing their way out. At present, we have incorporated eight EBOLA orphans into our program, four of which have been sent to boarding schools while the others remained with family members.  GPFA has taken the responsibility of sending them to school in Montserrado County where there continues to be no new cases to date.  We continue to spread the non- complacency messages and care for those being discriminated  against due to the implications of being surviving orphans and the negativities that linger on with the communities and how people think about the virus.

 

WE HAVE MADE IT AGAIN

On Sept 3, 2015, after forty two (42) days period with no new case or trace of EVD, the World Health Organization again declared Liberia a state free of EBOLA. With this new development, many Liberians accepted that we still continue our message of Non-complacency since in fact our neighboring countries are yet to be freed from EVD. GPFA is committed to continuing to give our support in any way possible. Presently, we are giving support to some Ebola Orphans as mentioned above this demography presents one of the most challenging realities that Liberia is faced with during this post Ebola recovery period.

Considering the effect that the crisis had on our already poor health system, GPFA also continued our support to schools and health facilities in Liberia. We distributed Non-Contact Thermometers to 46 schools in and out of Monrovia, as well as medical supplies to some of our bigger hospitals that fought to save EBOLA affected people lives during the entire EVD crisis.

 

Appreciation

We extend our thanks to you our many partners who have given us enormous support. Your generosity has reached us to where we are as a nation free of EBOLA. Your contributions have given hope to our communities and our nation at large. How else do you think we can help with your support? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and, we thank you on behalf of all of our beneficiaries, for your continued support.

Program Officer Handing Over Thermometers
Program Officer Handing Over Thermometers
Women CBOs & Media Re-hashing Awareness Outreach
Women CBOs & Media Re-hashing Awareness Outreach
Handwashing continues...
Handwashing continues...
Training CBOs & Media for Non-Complacency Outreach
Training CBOs & Media for Non-Complacency Outreach

RETROSPECTION…

An entire year has gone by, a dark period during which communities fought tooth and nail to ensure that the EBOLA Virus Disease (EVD) was eradicated from our shores. Then it seemed like our hard work had paid off. On May 9th, 2015, we were declared EBOLA-free, after 42 days with no recorded cases of Ebola, by the World Health Organization (WHO).  And oh how we welcomed that news at GPFA! We were so very excited as that meant, we got to send our scholars back to school, host our summer programs and prepare our International Students to finally be able to leave without the inadvertent stigma coming from an EBOLA-affected country brings.

OH! HOW WE ALMOST MADE IT!!!

We continued to carry out  our awareness – basically telling our communities that with new cases of Ebola still being recorded in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, the outbreak is far from over and Liberians needed to stay with the program and follow protocols as set by the local, regional and international health authorities.  We continue to carry out  our awareness that  with new cases of Ebola still being recorded in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, the outbreak is far from over and Liberians needed to stay with the program and follow protocols as set by the local, regional and international health authorities.  We put messages into the public that for Liberia to record 42 days with no cases of Ebola was a real milestone but that communities should  not take their foot off the gas on awareness and outreach on following the EBOLA prevention protocols until all three of the countries record 42 days with no cases.

And, for a brief moment there was a glimmer of hope – but then without any warning – BAM!! The deadly EVD was back. Just like that.

BACK TO SQUARE ONE :(

Well that is the nature of the disease, hence the reason why we at the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) continue to preach an everyday “sermon” of non-complacency.   We recently closed out an a women-led campaign to kick the virus out of our communities, our homes, our towns and villages. And the one stark feedback is the need to improve cross-border surveillance to prevent a full blown all-out re-emergence of the disease in Liberia. Overall, we were able to continue our EBOLA Awareness Initiative in communities in several different counties since April of 2015. Our Media Institutions and Community-based partners and our staff and scholars underwent trainings as applicable, carried out outreach and awareness on EVD prevention and eradication in market places, slum communities, public transport hotspots and busy transit points, in schools, mosques and churches. Our outreach initiative ensured that everywhere we went we left the message of non-complacency with our audience and asked them to each take the personal responsibility for the safety of their environment. To date, we continue to encourage survivors’ assimilation, especially the little children who have been orphaned by the rampaging virus.  

We were also able to supply various hospitals, UL Clinic, Elementary & Junior High School Clinics and Community Health Centers, with much needed Air freighted and Sea-shipped Medical Supplies donated to us by MedShare.  With nearly two hundred Liberian health workers dying after contracting the EVD, and the fact that the epidemic decimated the country’s already fragile national health system, we at GPFA acknowledge the blessings that were bestowed upon us through donations like yours to enable our communities keep safe.  We know that we have been blessed and are grateful to have been able to support the efforts by our community-based partners and the success stories to be told despite the dreariness of the resurfacing of the disease.

WE CAN DO IT AGAIN!

GPFA is actively working on our “Let’s Do It Again” campaign to - AGAIN - kick the disease out of the country and ensure that our lives return to normalcy of sorts. We hope to be able to get other like-minded non-profit organizations to buy-in and join us in the fight. This we believe will help us refocus.  GPFA inherently feel that it is time for health needs to be addressed as a priority, where Liberians feel confident they can go to hospital once again and have their healthcare needs looked after. And we know that with our partners and donors like you, helping to spread the news and share our information, the international community will continue to support Liberia and Guinea and Sierra Leone in rebuilding a strong and affordable national health system with adequate human and material resources.

YOU ARE SO, SO APPRECIATED!

Sometimes it is like deja vue to be writing to you and again stating “thanks to all our partners like you,” but - it is in sincere appreciation of each and every one of you, who continue to be the wind beneath our wings, who continue to support us as we fight this deadly disease to make Liberia EBOLA free!

What about you? How have you fared on this one-year journey with us? Let us know of any other ways you think we could better help our communities. Your suggestions are sorely needed too. Plus we ask that you please don’t give up on us, but rather that you continue journeying with us until we see ourselves through this crisis.

IT IS BEATABLE! We can Kick EBOLA OUT! So Let’s do it Again!!!

Posting NonComplacency Messages to School Bulletin
Posting NonComplacency Messages to School Bulletin
Keeping the Elderly Safe
Keeping the Elderly Safe
Community Outreach
Community Outreach
GPFA Scholars Assist with MedShare Distribution
GPFA Scholars Assist with MedShare Distribution
Peace Home Medical Clinic rcv
Peace Home Medical Clinic rcv'g MedsShare supplies
Young Female CBO Rep: Wellness Validation Outreach
Young Female CBO Rep: Wellness Validation Outreach

The Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) continues its efforts to infuse support to Liberia’s slum communities in the fight against the deadly EBOLA epidemic. GPFA is happy to have had the opportunity to be able to work directly with Community-Based Organizations in local communities as early as back in July of 2014, and, as the EVD continued to claim so many lives, leaving behind bad memories.  Since January 2015, GPFA's focus is now on promoting non-complacency throughout the country. The message being carried out is that community dwellers should not be complacent about any part of the prevention protocols prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Liberia's Ministry of Health (MoH). 

Spreading the Message of Non-Complacency:

The Foundation is doing that by providing mini-grants to community-based organizations, local media institutions (Radio/TV/Newspapers) and rural-based radio stations to support outreach efforts jam-packed with messages of non-complacency in slum communities to totally eliminate the virus out of the country.  As the first-responders in the fight against EBOLA, these CBOs take the lead in ensuring the message goes out to residents. This community based approach also allows communities to take ownership and assume responsibility for their safety. As the amount of cases continues to drop to a phase where we are hopeful of a zero new cases status soon, it is becoming glaringly clear that our CBOs-Media Outreach approach - outside of direct medical care – was the most effective fight put up against the EVD.  This process thus proved satisfactory and is fast becoming the national success story against EBOLA.


Successful Re-Direction & Implementation:

GPFA's supported CBOs have been on the front line of these vigorous awareness campaigns on the danger of EBOLA. They were very successful in implementing our Ebola Initiative through a Jehovah-Witness-Styled door-to door public awareness process in 12 of Liberia's 15 Counties - including: Montserrado, Margibi, Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Bomi, Lofa, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, and Rivercess. To date, the hard work carried out by the local and rural-CBOs and media institutions has been very impactful in the reduction of new cases of the EVD and the eradication of the ensuing death rates that comes with the territory.  GPFA's redirection of its Ebola Initiative to supporting a campaign of non-complacency is due to the fact that Liberia has as yet not been confirmed EBOLA free.


Renewed Efforts to End EBOLA


Between January and March of 2015, the Foundation re-granted 20 CBOs and 4 Motor Cyclists Unions in Montserrado. The grant was geared towards GPFA's EBOLA Non-Complacency Campaign as well as support for our No New Cases Wellness Validation. This time around, the main focus for the CBOs was public areas like the general Market places, Public transportation hubs, and school communities. The CBOs supported by our Ebola Non-Complacency Initiative disseminated information, held public forums and counseled community dwellers to continue all the preventive and safety practices even beyond the day that Liberia is declared an EBOLA free state. Emergency health supplies and other hygiene materials are also being distributed during the
campaign to community-based Health care centers.

Thanks to all our partners like you, who have not given up on us and who continue to support our fight in making Liberia EBOLA free!

New Kru Town MotorCyclist Union Rep Sharing Gloves
New Kru Town MotorCyclist Union Rep Sharing Gloves
"PemPem" Boys Non-Complacency Outreach
"PemPem" Boys Non-Complacency Outreach
Dwala Transportation Hub Non-complacency Safety Ou
Dwala Transportation Hub Non-complacency Safety Ou
Dolo
Dolo's Town Youth Wellness Validation Outreach
Ebola survivor children happily collect food
Ebola survivor children happily collect food

Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) continues its campaign to provide direct community support to those affected by Ebola. In addition to funding community-based organizations' health awareness campaigns, contact tracing and outreach, GPFA provides direct support to those most vulnerable. 

In October 2014, GPFA partnered with STARZ College of Science & Technology to distribute $1000 USD worth of bags of rice and cooking oil to families in the Airfield community in Monrovia.  Over 20 families received food emergency packages.  Families patiently lined up to receive food allowance to help offset the challenges the health crisis has placed on marginalized families as STARZ facilitated the disbursement process.  

In December 2014, GPFA ramped up its food drive to focus on two vulnerable groups: Survivors of Ebola (particularly children) and female-headed households of young children.  GPFA partnered with Amos Sawboh of Orphan Concern Liberia, a Liberian-led youth initiative to support survivors of Ebola, to identify persons in need of aid in the Banjor area in the Virginia community of Monrovia. GPFA distributed $4000 USD worth of care packages of rice, cooking oil, beans, Quaker oats, sugar, canned milk, seasoning cubes and health kits of chloride, soap and hand sanitizers to over 30 families who had survived Ebola.  An additional 20 families of elderly female-headed households caring for dependent children received care packages and health kits in the Clara Town, Topoe Village on Gardnersville Highway, Matadi, and Morristown comunities in Monrovia.  As caretakers, girls and women are particularly at risk during the current health crisis according to a Dec. 14, 2014 Voice of America article. To ensure that care packages and health kits went to the most vulnerable, GPFA hand-delivered supplies to families.

Over 70 families received care packages and health kits. GPFA's partnership with Kids Engagement Project--which provides books and educational materials to children at home while schools were closed--and Orphan Concern will continue to monitor their progress. 

With your continued support, GPFA will continue to support local Liberian efforts to end Ebola, and keep children healthy, safe and engaged. 

A survivor of Ebola carries a care package home
A survivor of Ebola carries a care package home
Dolo Town community leaders, GPFA and Vaibah F.
Dolo Town community leaders, GPFA and Vaibah F.

Dolo Town, about 47 miles east of Monrovia, is home to about 17,000 residents. Much of the economic activity is connected to Firestone, the largest natural rubber operation in the world.  

In early August, Dolo Town was placed on quarantine by the Liberian government to contain the outbreak. Firestone employees were barred from going to work, and women who run the local market were no longer able to replenish their quickly dwindling supplies.  

The quarantine included a plan to provide rations and water, but for many residents, accessibility to food and water was at the mercy of family members outside the community who brought supplies.  As residents scrambled to keep healthy, the issue of water--to wash, sanitize, and drink--became a growing challenge. 

On August 23rd, Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa donated two trucks of mineral water worth $500 USD.  Ebola patients should consume over a gallon water per day to maintain hydration. Healthy persons need soap and water to keep areas sanitized.  The donation addressed water shortage access and was coordinated by GPFA, Rock Hill Community Women organizer Vaibah Fl. and received by the Chairman of River View Community Rev. Joseph T., Pastor  of the Conquerors Church Center and his Assistant Pastor Nathaniel M.

 

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa

Location: Monrovia, Montserrado - Liberia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @GboweePeace
Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa
Williametta Saydee-Tarr
Project Leader:
Williametta Saydee-Tarr
Executive Director
Monrovia, Montserrado Liberia

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