The second component of the Ebola Community Action Platform Project or ECAP-2 was launched in Tubmanville, Neekreen Administrative District of Grand Bassa County on Saturday, 12 December.
A release says the eight months program, funded by the USAID/OFDA under the management of Mercy Corps, is being implemented in one thousand five hundred communities across Liberia’s fifteen counties by local Non-Governmental Organizations including Serving Humanity with Love and Open Mind- SHALOM Incorporated.
The first phase of the Ebola Community Action Platform ECAP project was launched in January this year, deploying over two hundred communicators from thirty-five communities in the common wealth district of Grand Bassa to work hard to spread anti Ebola message to local communities in Grand Bassa County.
Shalom Executive Director Mrs. Pate Chon told reporters that the program will build the preparedness of the communities by supporting and strengthening local structures and existing health systems to prevent any future outbreak of the Ebola virus or any other disease.
Mrs. Chon said the project will “basically engage the communities, encouraging them to move into action and take their health matters into their own hand, being able to link with the various clinics”.
She said it will also prompt community members to regularly access the health centers, dispelling the misconceptions they harbored about health facilities during the Ebola outbreak.
“We are saying there should not be any form of Ebola case in our country again”, a statement quotes Mrs. Chon as saying, adding that even if there is any outbreak, through the platform mechanisms will alert a proactive response that will avoid it from spreading sporadically as it did during its initial outbreak.
She says as part of the program, communities were also being educated on various health matters including mother and health, HIV/AIDS and hygiene and sanitation issues.
The project is designed in a way that local structures known as the Community Health Committees are constituted to hold regular meetings, creating the platform for information sharing and sensitization.
This platform triggers individual and collective action in which everyone becomes alert and supportive of each other to keep themselves and their community’s health. At the same time, in order to monitor and give assistance to these community structures, Shalom has trained and assigned Community Support Officers, CSOs.
Mrs. Chon told reporters the communities have been receptive to the program and have since been seriously involved. “These people are enthusiastic about the platform, and understand the importance for the community to take action about their own health,” she said.
Also speaking at the program, Mercy Corps Manager of the ECAP, Catherine Brown praised the full involvement of the chiefs, elders, and youth and women groups in the program.
Madam Brown reassured Mercy Corps’ commitment to remain supportive of the project and urged implementing partners to do all they can in ensuring the project reaches its objectives.