13 May 2015

Liberia: 'Be Strong' - CHF CEO Encourages Ebola Survivors in Liberia

Monrovia — The President and CEO of an organization, the Child Fund has called on Ebola survivors to be strong and stop seeing themselves as victims. Anne Goddard speaking at her welcome ceremony in Margibi County said she was overwhelmed over the partnership between her organization and Aid for Needy Development Program (ANDP).

"I'm happy to meet you and I appreciate the partnership and we are very pleased. We appreciate the partnership with your organization, we know with the partnership we can do more", she said. She further said "the memory will be part of your life forever and don't think of being a victim, but a survivor who is strong and making a good life for yourself'.

Madam Goddard: "I know this is not the end, I know that many lives have been affected that will not go back to normal, and we know that it will take a lot to bring people, children, families and communities back on the path towards the future." Also speaking one of the partners, Augustine Musah, President of ANDP said he was glad to form part of the running of the Interim Care Center where several children were kept for observation during the Ebola crises.

He said "we worked with affected children and children who come in contact with affected persons who are quarantined as a result of the outbreak; we moved in and collected the children and brought them and admitted them into the center for the period of 21 days under observation."

"After 21 days and no signs and symptoms we discharged them with 250 USD for each child to be integrated in their communities, so if during their stay in the ICC if they begin to show signs and symptoms; because when they are here they go through monitoring and their temperatures are checked three times a day because we have nurses and qualified staffs working with them and once they are showing signs we isolate them and then we called on the team from the ETU to pick them up", he disclosed."

Mr. Musah said there have been a number of cases taken care of at the ICC. "We have 15 cases that went through this center where we had the last outbreak at that time we just established this center in Gakpab town following a death of a man and his wife who got infected", Musah said.

He continued "we moved in there and we brought them in, during their stay here two of them came down with the virus they were isolated and were turned over to the ETU for monitoring; working in closed partnership with the government arm, especially the county health team." The Child Specialist at CHF Rashid Bangurah said the ICC was established during the first and second outbreaks.

"During the first and Second outbreaks, we noticed that many children were left uncared for; though there were contacts and there was a need for them to be observed, at the Child protection cluster we decided that the children should not go to the ETU where they have not been tested positive so we established the ICC in breaking the chains of transmission", he said.

Mr. Bangurah further added "We arrived at ICC to care for children who are contacts and who do not have primary care giver so a child parents/ parent can be taken to the ETU and the children are left home without attention so in order to provide care for them we take them in and observed them for 21 days."

The CHF Child specialist continued: "We gave them real care and we were concerned about providing the regular monitoring supervision for symptoms and also providing psychosocial support to children who are there and some are there who parents went to the ETU and passed out, so the support did not just stop at the ICC but we also followed the children throughout their communities."

"Like now, we have 9 children who were taken from this village because it was quarantined and they came in contact with an Ebola patient and they were under observation but later returned to their community", he said. Taywah Gborbor, Grandmother of three of the children who were released from the ICC explained that her daughter brought her husband to the house and he died and their home was quarantined by the County Health team but was later free after their 21 days of observation.

She commended CHF and partners for the support to her grandchildren on grounds that they returned to her safely and healthy. One of the Orphans at the ICC Josephine Dolo, 12, said: "My father died from Ebola and, I am not in school since my father died, I have no support and I really want to attend School." Little Josephine disclosed that only her father died from the sickness and she lives Vai Town in Margibi County.

"I have spent three weeks here in the ICC and here they took care of me fine, they washed my clothes, bathed me, I expect to go back home soon; they taught me how I should keep watching my hands and I shouldn't touch dead bodies", she said.

Mammie Singbe a survivor and caretaker at the ICC said "we lost lots of children, our husband; first all we say thank you because since I came from the ETU, I came and I met job here and I am very happy for the help given to me from CHF and ANDP." She disclosed that presently she has over 10 children living with her as the result of her family members who left their children behind.

"Like now we have nothing to do because Ebola finish, so we are begging - please allow this work to continue at least; we must be on the field helping people because whole lots of children who parents died from Ebola are still vulnerable they are roaming the streets here, we want your help us so that we can be on the field to sustain our families, "she said.

Madam Singbe: "I can tell you in this county we still experience stigmatization from our people here because they can say we get Ebola so they don't even help us and for me I have 10 children living with me".

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