OSIWA Identifies With Ebola Survivors, Victims

By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy

The Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA) has continued efforts in buttressing government’s drive to contain the Ebola virus if not eradicated out of the country by evidence of its assistance to the government-run Ebola Treatment Unit II located in the ELWA Compound as well as identifying with several of the survivors of the virus at the ‘More Than Me’ Ebola Survivor center located on Ashmun Street in Monrovia.

At the survivors’ center, the Country Director of OSIWA, Massa Crayton urged them to be very careful how they receive those who come in the name of offering assistance noting that some might want to use their situation to exploit them and advised them against being commercialized.

“Do not be carried away by tokens or money,” she added. Madam Crayton is optimistic that Liberia is able to beat the Ebola virus and added that the virus rocked the health system because there was already a collapse in the system’s health care delivery.

Madam Crayton said her organization is not in the fight to put monies in the hands of the survivors or the victims instead will help government provide if not all, some of the basic needs that would give both the survivors and the victims hope that they are still being remembered and that which will help better their lives.

She said if you are not a survivor of the Ebola virus, it is difficult to understand what those who have contracted the virus have experienced and are still going through.

“We will only join you to tell God thank you that out of so many of us who died, some of us are able to survive to tell the story; it may not be very good stories but somewhere along the way we will have to say it out and that is all part of the feelings and we urge you to continue talking your stories that people can understand that Ebola did not come with a long list of names of those it has come to,” she said.

Madam Crayton said Ebola is still present and it is not time to open the iron doors and it is therefore incumbent upon those who have survived to create the awareness and prove to the world that Liberia is able to beat Ebola.

She said OWISA is carrying the fight further by identifying with Ebola orphans and their gesture is in food items, clothing and detergents adding that schools are about to open and the survivors need assistance but they must be organized if they must be catered for appropriately.

She said two huge grants are being processed within the next few weeks intended for civil society organizations to conduct post Ebola public health initiative and some current initiative around the Ebola awareness which shows that OSIWA is looking beyond where the country is now considering that the entire public health sectors have collapsed and that her organization’s target is what could be done at the grass root levels to restore basic health services to the people.

Some of the survivors expressed thanks to OWISA and said they can only be restored when Liberians especially their people and the national leadership identify with them. They described the gesture of OSIWA as the first step to restoring their sense of Liberianization because even their immediate relatives have deserted them and that they are now being classified as nobody.

They complained that some of them came in contact with the virus while trying to render help and that they are safer from the virus than those who have not contracted the virus.

Meanwhile, earlier at the ELWA II ETU, Madam Crayton said the items provided were for the patients and that their gesture was like adding their own voice to a national call being cognizant that there are reports of decline in the outbreak of the virus.

ELWA II Manager, Nathaniel Dovillie thanked OSIWA for the continuous gesture naming four vehicles as the Initiative’s earlier gesture and confirmed a great decline in the cases being registered on a daily basis adding; “now we are reporting empty beds.” Mr. Dovillie said they ETU management will ensure that patients use the items as it is being done at the unit.

He confirmed 48 suspected cases now at the unit and it is expected that 10 to 15 persons are to be discharged following the sample results.

He praised OSIWA as one of the partners that have contributed in the reduction of the Ebola cases and prayed that God will guide them so that wherever the monies came from they will be able to be replenished.