With the worst of the Ebola outbreak hopefully behind us, the international community is looking at what needs to happen next to insure an Ebola-free future. Our CEO, George Guimaraes, and Chief Operating Officer, Mark O’Donnell, recently went on a journey to Liberia to gage the situation and see the people who witnessed the outbreak firsthand – both our Ebola response team and the survivors they impacted.
The trip included a daylong celebration in honor of Liberia being declared Ebola-free. Leaders spoke on the challenges of Ebola and successes of the community efforts.
“They shared their struggles during the crisis and in the aftermath—the loss of a spouse or a child, and challenges of stigma that still exists in the communities, as well as issues of food and security,” said Mark. “Overall the survivors were very proud and appreciative people, committed to making their lives better after Ebola.”
Unfortunately, the festive mood was short lived as three new Ebola cases emerged in Liberia days later. The battle against Ebola is not yet done and we remain committed to seeing this through.
Because we already had a strong presence in Liberia with our food security programs pre-Ebola, we’ve become a trusted part of the community. We’re using this position to tackle Ebola in a multidimensional way – from including an emergency food and security program to keep people fed, to prevention and awareness trainings to keep people Ebola-free, to treatment and care centers to get people healthy, to Women Empowered (WE) and farmer’s groups to help people heal financially.
Mark couldn’t be more proud of our Ebola response team. “They have an incredible capacity and are extremely committed to each other, the response, and to their Liberian communities,” he said.
With a dedicated staff, spirited and committed community members, and holistic programming to strengthen all parts of community life, we’re committed to creating long-lasting, sustainable change for an Ebola-free future.
By Christa Davis