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Media seeks support in Ebola fight

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Liberian media executives have stressed the need for support from Government and international partners to strengthen the ongoing fight against the Ebola virus.

Speaking in Monrovia on Tuesday, 11 November at a forum organized by the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building in partnership with the Press Union of Liberia and the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, newspaper publishers and managers of broadcast institutions, including community radio stations emphasized the need to empower media houses in disseminating Ebola preventive messages to the public.

Philip Wesseh, managing editor for The Inquirer Newspaper, a Liberian daily, appealed to IREX, UNICEF and other international partners to capacitate the local media by providing recorders, cameras, and computers, among other gadgets for reporters covering Ebola stories.

Sharing his experience on reporting on Ebola, Rodney Sieh, publisher and managing editor for the FrontPage Africa, said since the outbreak in March the media has done a great deal with limited capacity to report the issues.  “We need help; we can’t do it alone”, he added. The forum on the theme: Strengthening Media Partnership to Roll Back Ebola, is being sponsored by USAID, Carter Center, IREX, UNICEF and UNMIL.

Giving an update of Liberia’s Ebola crisis, Dr. Peter Graaf, Ebola Crisis Manager for the United Nations Ebola Emergency Response or UNMEER said international partners are determined to get to “Zero” infection rate not only in Liberia but Guinea and Sierra Leone. “The next 30 days are going to be now difficult than the last 30 days. We need behavioral change”, Dr. Graaf emphasized. He said the current fight is focus on trying to catch up with the virus.

The social mobilization head at the Ministry of Health, Rev. John Sumo said there are 455 Ebola survivors across the country and underscored the need to disseminate the right messages to the public to help citizens take preventive measures.

The Liberian government is resolved to hit zero new cases by Christmas, according to Information Minister Lewis Brown.  Brown said Liberia is between a sense of achievement and hope, saying, “We can’t relax now. Ebola affects all.”

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