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Ebola Response in Liberia
Published 04/06/2020 by Global Communities
Global Communities took a comprehensive approach to Ebola programming by coupling infrastructure development, community mobilization and behavior change communications to improve sanitation and hygiene practices.
Global Communities’ close relationship with Community Health Workers, Environmental Health Technicians, USAID, and the communities we work with allowed us to quickly respond and refocus USAID-funded WASH activities in March 2014. Our IWASH program began to use its network of communities and their Natural Leaders to mount effective public awareness campaigns about the virus, complemented by the delivery of PPE, soap and disinfectants to clinics and hospitals, and to train clinic staff and environmental health technicians to prevent transmission. After the initial outbreak, GC’s Ebola response included significant community engagement to counter Ebola denial and promote safe health behaviors, to support contact tracing and to active case search to identify potential Ebola patients, and nationwide provision of safe and dignified burials to reduce the risk of community transmission from contact with the deceased.
Global Communities took a comprehensive approach to Ebola programming by coupling infrastructure development, community mobilization and behavior change communications to improve sanitation and hygiene practices. An adapted Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) methodology reduced open defecation and helped build local health system capacity to monitor communities to confirm ODF progress. This CLTS+ approach introduced an “Essential WASH Package” that leverages demand for safe water, improved sanitation and healthy hygiene developed through standard CLTS with support to WASH goods and services supply and strengthened local government capacity to manage WASH infrastructure and services.
The Assisting Liberians with Education to Reduce Transmission (ALERT), a $32.1 million, OFDA-funded program, provided awareness to communities on safe and hygienic methods to reduce the risk of exposure to and contraction of Ebola. Working with International Rescue Committee, Liberian Red Cross and other Liberian partners, Global Communities provided burial team support in all 15 counties of Liberia and helped establish a safe burial site for 2 Ebola victims. The program targeted residents in rural border communities to create and maintain border surveillance checkpoints. From 2014-2016, ALERT facilitated safe and dignified burials for over 7,500 deceased persons, with an average of 96% of bodies buried within one day of notification of death. This rapid communications network to safely and quickly bury Ebola victims was critical in stemming further transmission. Global Communities engaged over 1,500 communities in outreach activities to improve health action planning, trained contact tracers and active case searchers, and mobilized 72 burial teams and 57 disinfection teams at the height of the outbreak.
In 2016, Global Communities participated in the Epidemic Preparedness and Response Consortium which worked to ensure continued ability of communities to respond to an outbreak of Ebola by providing training and support to 3,832 Community Health Workers.
Global Communities Capacity in Preventing, Mitigating and Responding to Outbreaks of Infectious Disease