Ebola: Fighting While Surviving

GregDuly

Greg Duly

Country Director

Liberia

March 2, 2015

 

SavetheChildren_Ebola_Liberia_Blog_March_2015As I reflect on the three weeks of my assignment thus far in Liberia I continue to be impressed by the dedication and sacrifices made by the Liberian national staff. We’ve had tremendous support from expats who’ve come from all parts of the world but our team is nearly 90% Liberians. Demonstrative of the incredible sacrifice and effort that the country has made. 

Unlike international personnel, these staff have had to “live” the reality of the Ebola epidemic in ways the rest of the world cannot contemplate. Not only are our national staff expected to work each day – and for the first few months of the epidemic this meant working seven days a week and 14 or more hours a day – they have also had to keep their families safe or find treatment for them. Simultaneously fighting the epidemic while being victims of its brutality. 

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Locals like Kebeh, a midwife in our Community Care Center, make up 90% of our aid workers in Liberia

The entire team has done an incredible job across a number of sectors, addressing the direct causes and problems of Ebola Virus with initiatives such as Emergency Treatment Units, Community Care Centres and Active Case Finding/Contact Tracing] while also addressing the indirect issues such as getting schools in shape for children to safely learn in them and aiding those children who have been orphaned.

Ultimately it will be Liberians who rebuild the country but that doesn’t mean the international community can’t help. I am very proud of the dedication & commitment of our Save the Children colleagues who’ve courageously left their current postings and offered to serve in Liberia, but I am humbled by the wholehearted commitment by our Liberian colleagues who have really stepped up to tackle this dreaded scourge.

To learn more about our Ebola response, click here.

Changing Mindsets

Joao

Joao Sitoi

Sponsorship Manager

Chitlalo, Mozambique

March 30, 2015

 

During August, I went to Chitlalo with a group of colleagues for an appointment with the local leadership. Save the Children was arranging to phase out of the community. We wanted to talk about our achievements and to assess community satisfaction.

Amelia_2

Volunteer Amelia Mondlane advising a family on illness prevention, hygiene and environmental sanitation.

The community mentioned several achievements made with help from sponsorship funding, including classrooms, a well, latrines and the ongoing training of teachers. Amelia Mondlane, a health activist and sponsorship volunteer in the community, raised an important issue that was remarkable to me. “Our community has changed a lot because Save the Children taught us about the causes of diseases,” she said. “At first, we did not know that water can cause diseases. Many people, children and adults, suffered from diarrhea and malaria in our community. When Save the Children built a well in the school, a group of local community members was trained to look after it and to do maintenance.”

The group Amelia is in charge of was committed to changing the mentality of their community, showing them the strong impact of building latrines. Before that, very few families had latrines.

Amelia

Amelia Mondlane volunteering in Chitlalo, Mozambique

“Our kids could only use latrines at school,” Amelia told us. “Once back home, they were forced to defecate in the bush, and it worried us so much. It was not easy, but today after many years, almost everyone has a latrine.”

Another thing mentioned was that after it rains, every family is tasked with covering the remaining rainwater around their houses because it can attract mosquito nests. “Today,” Amelia finished, “there is no more diarrhea and malaria has been greatly reduced. Thank you Save the Children! We learned a lot from you, and we are implementing everything with success!”

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.