Tag Archives: Ebola

HLF School Receives Ebola Prevention Materials

In an effort to train school staffers to ensure Ebola safety measures on campuses, the government, in collaboration with a local NGO, organized a one-day workshop before the reopening of our school.  Three of our staffers attended.

L-R: The Registrar (Miss Annie Dayugar) and the Principal (Mr. Varney Gibson) posing behind the donated items

L-R: The Registrar (Miss Annie Dayugar) and the Principal (Mr. Varney Gibson) posing behind the donated items

Two days after the workshop, a local NGO known as MAP presented some Ebola prevention materials to our school. The items, which were provided by UNICEF and distributed by the NGO, included the following:

Kids washing hands

Kids washing hands

  1. Two towels
  2. Two barrels
  3. Two buckets
  4. Two brushes
  5. Four brooms
  6. Four boots
  7. Seven gloves
  8. Three cartons of soap
  9. One chlorine bucket
  10. One spraying container
  11. Two spoons
  12. Three Ebola safety measure booklets
  13. Three electronic thermometers
Kids washing hands

Kids washing hands

When our school reopened, the staffers who attended the Ebola prevention workshop carried out a two-hour awareness session at the school, educating both students and staff who did not have the opportunity to attend the workshop.

Kids washing hands

Kids washing hands

Our kids and our staff have begun observing and practicing these Ebola prevention measures so as to help continue the fight against the Ebola virus, which has not totally left our country.

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Christmas Gifts for Our Children – Can You Help?

We would like to put smiles on the faces of the children at our school this Christmas. Can you help us raise US$ 850 by 5 December?

The outbreak of the Ebola virus has caused children to be out of school for months, and these include children of our school. But it also has to be remembered that this outbreak has not only caused children to be out of school; it has also increased the economic hardship parents face in this country, as many of them are without jobs and some of them who have jobs are forced to stay at home without being paid or given any special incentives.

Children singing at last year's Chrstmas event

Children singing at last year’s Chrstmas event

This reality/situation will, of course, adversely affect many children, including children in our school, during this Christmas holiday. And this is why we want to come in to help these children, and we want to do it for three (3) main reasons.

First, it is our usual year-end practice to purchase Christmas gifts for the children in our school and distribute these gifts among them.  We want to continue this tradition, especially during this Ebola time.

Second, we want to put some smiles on the faces of our children. We want them to know that there are people who care for them and want to make them happy this Christmas holiday.

Finally, we want to use the distribution of the Christmas gifts to encourage the children, the staff, the parents and the community, and to call their attention back to the school before the actual re-opening of school, especially considering the fact that the school has been closed for months and the fact that we will be adding the junior high division.

In view of the foregoing, we are launching an $850 fundraising campaign to purchase Christmas gifts for the children, and the gifts will include two (2) bales of clothes and five (5) bags of rice. More than 100 children, as well as several staffers and parents, stand to benefit from the exercise.

Breakdown of Cost

  1. 2 bales of clothes @$300 = $600
  2. 5 bags of rice @$40 = $200
  3. Transportation and related costs = $50

We appeal to everyone, especially our regular sponsors and donors, to please help us raise this amount before December 5, so that we can put smiles of the faces of the children during this Christmas holiday.

The easiest way to donate is through the PayPal account controlled by Lena and Anders in Sweden. If you prefer not to use PayPal, you can also send money directly to the school’s bank account, or through Western Union or MoneyGram.

We would also appreciate it if you are able to share this fundraising appeal with your friends and family, and on your social media pages.

We thank you in advance for your support!

Fifth Ebola Update

From all indications – as per the reports we are getting from local and international entities, including our own Health Ministry – the spread of the virus is reducing remarkably. And everybody is happy – but cautiously happy – about it. Not only is the number of new cases per day dropping, but the predictions by the international community that there could be thousands of new cases per week by December is also not happening.

Washing hands regularly helps to prevent the spread of Ebola

Washing hands regularly helps to prevent the spread of Ebola

Significant Improvements

  • The Deputy Health Ministry Tolbert Nyenswah told the country today that there are about 50 to 100 suspected cases per day across the country. Before, it used to be about 600 to 700 cases per day across the nation.
  • Besides, he indicated that the number of new confirmed cases per day is between 10 and 15, saying that in August, it was about 100.
  • He then encouraged Liberians to swiftly and happily take their sick or infected relatives to the ETU (Ebola Treatment Unit) because there is significant improvement in the care of patients and because there are empty bed spaces at the various ETUs, including between 300 and 400 empty bed spaces in Monrovia alone.
  • Health workers, especially nurses, are one of the groups highly hit by the virus, as many of them lost their lives in the process. However, the Deputy Minister said that in the last two weeks, the number of nurses affected by the virus is at zero.

Construction of More Ebola Treatment Units

Meanwhile, the government and its international partners continue to construct ETUs across the country. It is said that the plan is to build about 10 – 100 ETUs in each county.

The United States government just completed and turned over an ETU in Bomi County. The same USA completed another ETU in Congo Town (at the new Defense Ministry site), which the government has begun to use. Six Ebola patients are being treated there, but the facility can accommodate about 200 persons. The US has also completed a 25-bedroom ETU for local and international health workers who may contract the disease while helping Liberians.

Another ETU is being constructed at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex (commonly called SKD) by China, WHO and WFP.

New Cases

There are reports of dangerous new outbreaks in certain parts of the country – Grand Capa Mount County, between Gbarpolu and Bon Counties, Logan Town in Montserrado, Guhzon in Rivercess County, etc. over 40 persons are quarantined in Johnson and food were distributed to them yesterday.

Deputy Minister Nyenswah said that although the virus is reducing in Monrovia, there is more active transmission of the virus throughout the country.

Meanwhile, the head of the United Nations Emergency Ebola Program has warned Liberians against early celebration, as the virus is still in the country.

Three Phases of Ebola Management and Control

The Deputy Minister told the nation that they have divided their Ebola management in three phases. According to him, Phase One occurred when the virus was rising and spreading rapidly, like in August and September, which has reduced. Phase Two is what the country is experiencing at the moment – pockets of hot spots, outbreaks in the rural parts, etc, which may go on for a while. And Phase Three which will be the time when there is zero case of Ebola in the country.

Additional Signs of Improvement (?)

During the height of the Ebola crisis, the government told many of its employees to stay at home, calling them “non-essential” staff. Yesterday, the government started calling back some of these people, asking them to return to work immediately.

Also, the Ministry of Education is instructing the administrators/administrations of all public schools to go to work on their various campuses daily and to also begin repairing classroom chairs and desks. Although no specific announcement has been made about the exact date for the re-opening of schools, the general perception is that this may happen anytime next month or in January.

We promise to keep you informed.

Fourth Ebola Update and Other News

Well, it is time once more to provide another update on the Ebola situation in Liberia. But, first, we wish to express our thankfulness to the merciful God of heaven and earth for helping us to be alive and healthy at this point in time. We are grateful to God because many people, both Liberians and non-Liberians, have lost their lives to the virus since its outbreak in March, but he has kept us alive through His grace. Already more than 2,500 people have died thus far.

We are having a pre-outreach briefing

We are having a pre-outreach briefing

However, in the last few days, there have been reports that the number of Ebola patients going to treatment centers is slightly reducing in two of the highly hit places – Montserrado County, whose capital is Monrovia, and Lofa County – but a lot of people are welcoming and accepting this quite good news cautiously and skeptically for two main reasons. First, the infection rate of the virus is increasing in other parts of the country, like in Grand Cape Mount County. Second, the infection rate has also re-intensified in Sierra Leone and Guinea, where it had earlier been reported that the virus had reduced.

Some Highlights and Related News

1. Many new Ebola treatment centers and laboratories are being built in various parts of the country.

a. The US Government, through USAID, is constructing a huge treatment center in a place called Congo Town, which is right around the capital.

b. A fraternity organization just completed another 96-bedroom treatment center and turned it over to the government a few days ago.

2. The government of Cuba sent 49 doctors and health experts to Liberia a few days ago, to help in the fight against the virus.

Students conducting awareness training

Students conducting awareness training

3. Another Liberian doctor called Thomas Scotland died of the virus on Monday. He left behind four little children and a pregnant wife. Many of Liberia’s doctors and nurses have died of Ebola in many different places. It is a serious blow to our already broken healthcare system.

4. Another problem faced is strike actions staged by health workers. They have been complaining about low salary and lack of benefits and other incentives. Liberian lawmakers have summoned the Minister of Health on a few occasions, but nothing has really changed. In fact, some of the lawmakers are demanding the resignation of the Minister, but he says he has the support of the President

5. There have been reports that the government is planning to dismiss a lot of people, which the lawmakers have condemned and warned the Executive to drop the plan, but the government has denied having any such plan. Most people are already jobless in this country. Besides, many people working with the government were told to stay at home because the government considers them “non-essential staff.”

A few of my colleagues talking with a group of young people about Ebola safety measures

A few of my colleagues talking with a group of young people about Ebola safety measures

6. The prices of food and medicines, as well as other essential commodities, have increased on the Liberian market. According to the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Liberia, Mr. Axel M. Addy, three main reasons are responsible for the increase in prices.

a. Many ships coming to Liberia are subjected to very harsh restrictions.
b. Many vessels are refusing to come to Liberia.
c. Insurance has increased on vessels coming to Liberia.

7. Liberia should have had a mid-term election for senators on Tuesday, October 14, but that was not possible because of the state of emergency imposed as a result of the Ebola outbreak. Meanwhile, the National Election Commission has set a new date, which is December 16.

8. Some in government, including lawmakers, have begun suggesting that schools should be allowed to re-open; however, there has been no official pronouncement from the President on this.

A fellow law student and I before an outreach session

A fellow law student and I before an outreach session

Law Students Ebola Awareness Campaign

As indicated in the last update, we ended Phase Two of our awareness on Saturday, October 11. In Phase One, we talked with 3,285 people – 1,757 men, 939 women and 586 children. In Phase Two, we talked with 3, 429 people – 1,372 men, 1,132 women and 931 children.

After resting for about two weeks, we commenced Phase Three yesterday, Thursday, October 23. It will go for four weeks, two times a week. I am still the Coordinator for Outreach.

Third Ebola Update and Other News

Although we are aware that you our friends, sponsors, supporters, well-wishers, etc., read and see a lot about the Ebola virus disease (EVD) on various international media outlets, we have come to the conclusion that it is still our duty to update you because of your interest and involvement in the work we all are doing in Buchanan. And so we will continue to fill you in from time to time.

Our Ebola awareness group

Our Ebola awareness group

In this update, I wish to focus on Grand Bassa County. Liberia has fifteen counties, and one of the counties is called Grand Bassa. Its capital city is Buchanan – the place where our school is located. As many of you may have already read, Buchanan is about 113km from Monrovia. Ebola is in the county, and it is definitely in Buchanan; however, the county – and by extension, Buchanan – is not as gravely affected as other counties such as Montserrado, Lofa and Nimba. This is good news. Another good news is that, although our school is closed for now because of the Ebola crisis, we have received no news about any of our students, staff or parents contracting the virus or dying of it.

My colleagues and I at the ELWA Junction

My colleagues and I at the ELWA Junction

Statistics on Infection

On the Ebola statistics of the county, as released by the Ministry of Health on October 2, the total confirmed, probable and suspected cases was 132: 38 suspected cases, 47 probable cases, and 47 confirmed cases. The statistics summarize what is happening in each county; they do not indicate what is happening in each city. This is why I am unable to indicate the number of Ebola cases in Buchanan. Grand Bassa County has a population of 224,839, while Buchanan’s population is about 34,000 (2008 census).

My colleague carrying out Ebola awareness

My colleague carrying out Ebola awareness

Statistics on Deaths

Total number of deaths among confirmed cases was 21; total number of deaths among probable cases was 9 and the total number of deaths among suspected cases was 8. This means the total number of persons that had died of Ebola (including probable, suspected and confirmed cases) since the outbreak in March was 38 as of October 2. Compared with other counties, the total number of deaths for Bong County was 114; for Lofa County, it was 438; for Margibi County, it was 250; for Montserrado County, it was 1,050; and for Nimba County, it was 136.

My colleagues and I in the Jacob Town Community

My colleagues and I in the Jacob Town Community

My Participation in Law Students Ebola Awareness Campaign

In a related development, as some of you may be aware, I am a student at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia. I am also a part-time English instructor at the same university. However, because all schools, including colleges and universities, are closed as a result of the Ebola crisis and most of us have nothing doing for now, we students of the Law School came together and formed ourselves into a group which visits various places – communities, market places, shops, entertainment centers, etc – to carry out awareness about the Ebola virus disease.

My colleagues talking to a group of people in a makeshift barber shop

My colleagues talking to a group of people in a makeshift barber shop

We bought our own t-shirts and paid an artist to print on it for us. We use the t-shirts for our outreach. We are not being paid by anyone, nor do we receive donations from the government or any NGO. It is a completely volunteer work to help our fellow citizens observe the safety measures announced by health workers and experts. Our goal is to help prevent people from contracting the virus.

One of my colleagues talking with a household around the St. Francis Junction

One of my colleagues talking with a household around the St. Francis Junction

I am the Coordinator of outreach. We started Phase One on September 2 and ended it on September 14. We went out three times a week – Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays. We spoke to 3,285 persons. We launched Phase Two on September 25 and we are still on it. It is for three weeks, but we go out two times a week – Thursdays and Saturdays. It will end this Saturday. Written by Paul Yeenie Harry, Director of HLFCS

A colleague of mine talking with people at the Duport Road Market

A colleague of mine talking with people at the Duport Road Market