By Antoinette Sendolo
The Civil Society Organization Ebola Response Taskforce has launched its national initiative which included the opening of a situation room in a bid to buttress government’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus.
The purpose of the CSO Ebola response taskforce situation room is to analyze the social, security and economic implications of the Ebola outbreak and also monitor the coordination mechanism of the government and its partners.
The national initiative will also increase citizens’ access to information through the situation room on the trend of the Ebola situation in the country and advocate effective measures taken to contain the virus and provide sufficient Personal Protective Equipment, facilities, benefit to the health workers and adequate treatment centers.
Speaking during the launch of the Situation room yesterday at the Liberia Media Center where the situation room is located, Actionaid’s County Director, Korto Williams noted that the opening of the situation room is the second approach taken by CSOs to help in the fight against the outbreak of the virus in the country.
She added that the involvement of CSOs is to fill in the gaps in the fight against the Ebola virus highlighting advocacy and awareness as a major component of the CSOs’ strategy to containing the spread of the virus which has become the country’s number one enemy adding that CSOs remain committed to the fight against the virus.
Madam Williams noted that the participation of Civil society organizations that have expertise is required in community mobilization and outreach, human Rights Based Approach (HRBA), participatory monitoring and use of participatory technology platform in concert with county health teams and national structures to give impetus to the fight in stopping the outbreak in Liberia.
Meanwhile, the LRRRC boss, Abla Williams officially launching the CSOs situation room in collaboration with the chairperson of the National Civil Society Council, Frances Greaves encouraged every Liberian to join the fight against the virus noting that it is a national problem that needs to be addressed with unity and urgency.
She said the current Ebola situation should be used to transform the health sector adding that home kits should be provided to every home in order to contain further spread of the virus. Launching on behalf of the government, Cllr. Williams said if the government must take responsibility to mobilize, it is no mistake that the CSOs should be the mouthpiece.
On behalf of the CSOs, Madam Greaves said the intention of the national initiative is to rethink and re-strategize to ensure that there is no further transmission of the virus and that the launch of the situation room provides the platform for key information and statistics.
Remarks from partners emphasized that the CSOs which consist of 35 national and international NGOs working in the country unite in resources and efforts especially in the difficult times of addressing the Ebola crisis so that together they can assist government lay a foundation for a better Liberia. They also informed the taskforce that it is an excellent opportunity for civil society organizations to contribute to national endeavors.
Meanwhile the launch was preceded by a panel discussion which consisted of members of the taskforce and remarks from partners. The CSOs began engaging government in the fight against the Ebola virus for the past six months from which a taskforce was setup. The initiative was supported by IREX, Actionaid and OSIWA.