The Catholic Church Ebola Response Team has conducted Ebola awareness program for all 28 Catholic Schools within the Archdiocese of Monrovia. The program was intended to enable staff and teachers to be well prepared when schools reopen so that the children will be safe.
The deadly Ebola virus disease is affecting not only individuals but also families, communities and livelihoods. “It doesn’t stop with one death. It kills as many as possible because the virus wants to live. The host will have a horrible death but the virus will live on as long as there is another body to take it in.
We do not want to give the virus that chance so we have to team up and eliminate that chance by having as many people aware of what to do, how to do it and when to do it. All in a safe manner so that it will not cost them their lives,” said Sr. Evelina De Guglielmo, chairperson of the team.
Participants were grouped into eight (8) team members in a Training of Trainers session conducted by Dr. Tim Flanigan, an expert in infectious diseases who volunteered with the Catholic Church in September and October. Training components included indoor tutorial, group work as well as practice and demonstrations on different aspects of prevention and safety methods.
Cletus Noah,Business Manager at St. Teresa’s Convent High School, said: “It was decided that we would bring awareness to our 28 Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Monrovia in the five (5) counties of Montserrado, Bomi, Margibi, Bassa and Gbapolu. A selection of participants from each school was made including principals, teachers, janitors and securities.”
The awareness-raising effort among Catholic School staff, teachers and administrators, which was completed in October, was aimed at preparing 510 teachers, janitors and securities for the re-opening of schools. “We felt the need to begin putting this mechanism in place as part of our duty to put this Ebola catastrophe to an end before it reaches renewed level of concern. This exercise will prevent many more persons from dying out of ignorance. And we, the Catholic Church Ebola Response Team, cannot afford to see more Liberians die,” Sr. Evelina stressed.
It is hoped that when schools re-open, the 255 participants in the Training of Trainers (TOT) sessions will pass the vital information on to students and other personnel who would in turn spread the messages to their friends, families and communities. “We intend to reach 255 persons directly with the TOT. They in turn would reach over 2,550 in which each beneficiary is expected to reach 10 persons. If they (2,550) in turn share the reached over 5,000 persons,” Mr. Noah concluded.
However, this exercise is specifically meant to spread the message to all students of the Archdiocese (over 14,000), Parents and Guardians. By the time schools reopen, our Catholic Church Ebola Response Team for Schools will have reached over 25,000 persons.
Topics centered on Overview of the Ebola Virus Disease, History of Ebola, Signs and Symptoms, Prevention methods, Solution preparations (demonstration) and Recovery. At each of the sessions, a recovered person shared with the group her/his struggles associated with recovering from Ebola, among other activities.
“All of this preparation is to help to keep all schools a safe place for all, and help all Liberians help themselves so as not to catch Ebola”, concluded Sr. Evelina.