Silver Spring, MD (August 7, 2014) – The Global Communities Liberia team is leading important interventions to prevent and control the Ebola virus. To date, the recent outbreak has killed 282 people in Liberia and 932 altogether in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Global Communities’ USAID-funded Improved Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program (IWASH), which promotes healthy hygiene and safe water practices, is holding a series of 15 Community Meeting and Dialogue Sessions in Voinjama District, Lofa County to empower people with critical information on the history, signs and symptoms, transmission mode, and devastating impact of the Ebola outbreak.
The sessions are designed to counter high levels of Ebola denial, contacts with sick people, and secret burials of dead bodies – many of which have been reported in the District – that have been identified as the cause of high rates of infection and transmission. IWASH has been working with Government of Liberia partners in Lofa, Nimba and Bong counties to improve community access to water, sanitation and hygiene for four years.
The first two meetings were held in the last week and are being conducted in collaboration with the Lofa County Health team and facilitated by Director Tamba Boima, Director of the Division of Community Health Services, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Target audiences include county-level decision makers, religious leaders, civil society, the media, transport unions, traditional leaders, local drug store operators, town chiefs, community health development committees representatives, WASH entrepreneurs, members of the county health team, and Community-Led Total Sanitation Natural Leaders – individuals who assume responsibility for advancing clean hygiene practices in their communities.
The County Superintendent attended the first meeting, and Dr. Sally Annohene, a consultant with the World Health Organization, attended the second one, where she commended the IWASH team for this initiative.
Thus far participants have expressed satisfaction with the quality of information they receive at the meetings and are committed to joining the fight against denial, contacts with sick people, and secret burial of dead bodies. The meetings will continue for the next two weeks, and more than 569 representatives from 157 communities are expected to attend. Each session will have representation from between 4 to 14 communities.
Global Communities plans to extend the activity to other districts in Lofa and eventually all of the IWASH counties in Liberia.
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Global Communities is an international non-profit organization founded in 1952 that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. Global Communities believes that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. Learn more at www.globalcommunities.org