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PREVAIL trains local journalists

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The Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia or PREVAIL has ended one day training for reporters of community radio stations in Kakata City, Margibi County.

The training was held recently in the operational area of PREVAIL located in the fence of the Charles Henry Rennie Hospital with journalists from several media institutions, including Radio Gbaisue, Radio Margibi, Radio Kakata, SAWU FM, Atlantic Radio, Stone FM and Radio Joy Africa, and Peace FM, among others in attendance.

The community radio stations mentioned are from Kakata, Weala and Harbel, respectively in Margibi County. The reporters were taught three main issues, among them the objective for stablishing PREVAIL, health sensitivity reporting and ethics as well as birth cohort.

Introduction the workshop via mobile phone, Liberia’s Cultural Ambassador, Julie Endee, said it was important that journalists learn about PREVAIL and its activities here – what it has done and what it will be doing.
Ambassador Endee noted that this will also help journalists in their reportage, particularly on PREVAIL as an institution.

The Cultural Ambassador said the institution looks forward to extending such training opportunity to Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties and other counties to give rural broadcasters and journalists clear understanding of PREVAIL’s work. 

Giving a brief overview of the organization, Public Relations Officer Hassan Kiewu explained that PREVAIL was established in 2014 through the instrumentality of former Health Minister Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale, who communicated with some of his US counterparts (the Secretary of Health and Human Services) to help Liberia in finding a solution to the Ebola crisis, particularly vaccines and other cures for the disease.

He said it was about that time in 2014 PREVAIL was established as an institution in Liberia. Hassan further explained they began with vaccine study followed by Z-map drug meant for people with virus. Vaccine study, according to him, is called Prevail one and the Z-map is called Prevail two.

He said while the vaccine study was ongoing, PREVAIL decided to share the knowledge with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to collaborate in tackling problem in one of the countries that may easily affect the others.

Mr. Kiawu said the Ebola natural history study came about when the institution wanted to establish why people are faced with a lot of complications after surviving the virus, adding that based upon that PREVAIL established a center at the JFK Medical Center on June 17, 2015; Du-port Road July 6, and C. H. Rennie Hospital on 21 September 2015. 

Meanwhile, at those centers only survivors and closed contacts that are identified by survivors are enrolled. Also speaking during the workshop, the Birth Cohort Coordinator of PREVAIL Hilary Flomo, narrated that this aspect of the study came as a result of negative outcomes from women during pregnancy and when giving at birth.

He listed some of the objectives for the Birth Cohort as recording birth documentation to know whether there is any transaction taking place from the mother to the child during the period of birth and pregnancy, and to know the anti-biotic level of the child.

It is also meant according to him, to know how persistence the virus is in an individual. Finally ending the workshop on health sensitive reporting and ethics, Hassan Kiewu urged journalists to be very truthful and patience-minded in their reportage.

He said health is not like politics that people take as a sport, adding that one health report has the propensity of setting a nation on fire, depending on the way it is reported.

By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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