I was in Liberia for a month in December 2014 when the Ebola scourge was ravaging lives and destroying the socio-economic fabric of Liberian society. Communities were filled with fear and despair. Family ties and friendships were broken by mistrust; everyone became Ebola suspects.
I saw Ebola victims without medical care slowly wasting away. Tears in my eyes and feeling helpless, I watched my brothers and sisters suffer untold hardship.
Prevention was the first line of defense. I became a foot soldier with a team of volunteers, moving from house to house in high risk communities called Clara Town and Doe. With support from Abigail Disney, my sister Regina Fallah-Hausman, Daria Mejnartowicz, Ruth Helfrich and other friends, I took patients’ temperatures, distributed hand sanitizer and educated households on ways to prevent against the disease.
Interviewing an Ebola survivor for One Liberia Advocacy Online Radio.
Today, Ebola has disappeared from the shores of Liberia. My heart goes to all the victims who lost the battle to Ebola. Some victims have survived, but about 1,500 of them are still experiencing the effects of Ebola, such as the loss of sight or their limbs.
Thanks to all Liberians, and all international partners who stood up to destroy Ebola in Liberia. We have to remain committed to preventing Ebola in Liberia because its neighbors from Guinea and Sierra Leone are still battling the disease. Watchful eyes and preventive measures from along the borders are mandatory.
One area that needs urgent intervention is support for those dealing with post-Ebola trauma. Measures must be put in place to reduce the strain and stress of Ebola on Liberian citizens. Health workers must be applauded and honored. Women should be mobilized to support with the rebuilding of the broken social fabric of the society. Citizens should be sensitized to their civic responsibility to ensure that sanitation and hygiene practices are being maintained in their communities in order to prevent the spread of disease.
Never again should we go through this kind of suffering. What we need is an insightful, futuristic approach to dealing with these issues.