We are all products of our experience-which is a good reason to examine carefully the past experiences and present action of those communities who took matters into their own hands in the fight against Ebola Virus Disease.Winning communities acknowledge that community organizers, change agents, opinion and community leaders played important roles in community health belief systems and health seeking behaviours of others. Most communities started as vigilante groups, setting up road blocks, placing hand washing buckets at strategic locations, conducting temperature screening and managing Ebola committees, transportation and isolations centers.While health policies and established health practices are acknowledged and are an integral and valued part to the community, the media (particularly this medium) also played a critical role in the dissemination of valued health information and in providing unwritten community protocols for safety, health, education and basic hygienic necessities for the prevention and control of Ebola Virus Disease. (EVD)We recognized that all that was necessary for EVD to flourish was for the community to do nothing. We take special note of the roles played by community health volunteers, vigilante groups and faith-based organizations like the Catholic Church in drafting the blueprint for community protocols.Our community outreach education programmes at Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia during the Ebola crisis were specifically designed to accommodate new materials. We were not only immersed in community based activities but involved in promoting programmes, policies and practices that increased cooperation, interaction and exchanges between communities-enabling all social groups to share their resources and support each other in the war against Ebola.MOP-Liberia article in this column on -“It takes a village” and other Ebola prevention programmes were cited at different international arena for their significant contributions to community protocols in the fight against EVD.Liberia, with more than four thousand Ebola deaths, has learned its lessons well. We need to document these best practices, having produced the most successful fight against Ebola. We also need to ensure that conditions in our schools and communities are as safe as possible. It takes just one hidden case of Ebola to reignite the fire.Helping communities get back to their normal way of life is critical to ensuring that Liberia recovers from the Ebola crisis. Community health workers and leaders need to advocate for survivors, shelter and school for orphans and others who lost loved ones and incomes. Psychosocial support to affected and neighboring communities is important and more importantly is strict border control strategies.Early recovery efforts in Liberia should establish how communities could practice careful hygiene by washing hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer; avoid contact with blood and body fluids of an infected person, avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola and avoid contact with animals particularly bats, non human primates or raw bush meat. Government of Liberia should focus on protection of households through the distribution of disinfection kits and materials for contact tracing in various communities.Other measures to be included in the protocols for safe community environments in post Ebola era should include guidance for contact tracing, early surveillance system before suspected cases appear and Ebola Disease Modeling (EDM) to assess the future scope of the epidemic.With no single new cases of Ebola over the past week, we can proudly write that we are only weeks away from when (not if) Liberia would be declared “Ebola-free”. Until then and with an end in sight, we need to redouble our community action to stop and eradicate Ebola from our country. Support the “Ebola Educates” Campaign in kind through your stories or with your generous cash donation. Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates-Work Place Protocols”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Liverpool romped into the Europa League final with a 3-0 win over Villarreal on another magical night at Anfield to tee up a showpiece clash with holders Sevilla who swatted away visitors Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 on Friday.Five times European champions Liverpool reached a 12th continental final thanks to an own goal from Bruno Soriano and further strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana to overturn a first-leg deficit and go through 3-1 on aggregate.Villarreal were largely anonymous throughout and seemed to wilt in the face of a raucous atmosphere and early onslaught by the hosts, while their demise was hastened by a sending off for Victor Ruiz for a second booking after 71 minutes.It was a superb evening for Sturridge, whose place in the starting lineup had been in doubt after he was left out of key recent fixtures, but he was instrumental in a one-sided victory that prevented Spanish dominance of Europe’s two major finals.With Real Madrid and city rivals Atletico set to contest the Champions League showpiece, Sevilla ensured there would also be a Spanish team in the continent’s second-tier competition, while staying on course for a record third straight title.They had Kevin Gameiro to thank for a comfortable 5-3 aggregate win over Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar with the France striker scoring twice and Mariano Ferreira grabbing a third to book Sevilla’s spot in the final in Basel on May 18.Villarreal might have fancied their chances of reaching their first major European final, having snatched an advantage in the first leg that ensured an away goal would leave Liverpool needing to score three times.advertisementThe fact that the hosts managed that total without Villarreal finding the net was no mean feat.The Spanish side were on a club record 12-match unbeaten run in Europe and boasted a watertight defence that had not conceded a goal in 280 minutes in all competitions, before the damn was burst just seven minutes into the encounter at Anfield.SHARP FINISHLiverpool, backed by a ferocious home crowd, broke the deadlock with an own goal from Soriano, who turned in Roberto Firmino’s cross from the left with Sturridge lurking.It was largely one-way traffic as Liverpool, who had beaten heavyweights Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund in their last two Europa League encounters at Anfield, laid siege to the Villarreal goal throughout the first half.It took until the 63rd minute, however, for the hosts to add to their lead as Sturridge justified his selection with a sharp finish when he turned in Firmino’s effort from close range.The England striker has been on the bench in a number of key games this season, having seemingly failed to convince manager Juergen Klopp of his suitability, but gave the German a taste of his immense talent with a superb display.Villarreal still needed one goal to gain the advantage, but their hopes were hit when Ruiz saw red for a second booking after stamping on the foot of Lallana who then turned the ball in from Sturridge’s mis-hit shot with eight minutes to play.”Wonderful night, brilliant game from my side,” said Klopp, who has now guided Liverpool to two finals in his short time at the club, after they lost to Manchester City in this season’s League Cup final at Wembley.Standing between the German and some silverware will be Sevilla, masters of the Europa League in recent years.The difference between Sevilla’s domestic and European form has been stark this season with the Spaniards on a dire run in La Liga, with one win in seven, but tightening their grip on the Europa League as they hunt down a record third straight title.Gameiro had converted a late penalty as Sevilla and Shakhtar drew the first leg 2-2 and he was on target again to open the scoring after nine minutes on Thursday, capitalising on a miscontrol from Maksym Malyshev to finish in style.Shakhtar were level on the night a minute before halftime, however, when a fine pass from Marlos was finished by Eduardo.Gameiro then netted his sixth goal in his last five Europa League matches two minutes after the break when he was played in by Grzegorz Krychowiak, and Ferreira rounded off the scoring with a stunning strike from distance just before the hour.