By Edwin G. Wandah
A non-governmental organization operating in the country, Public Health Initiative Liberia-PHIL has been applauded for its numerous initiatives in the fight against the Ebola virus in the country.
Since the outbreak of the vicious deadly virus in the country, PHIL along with partners has been catering to several Ebola orphans and survivors in three of the fifteen counties of Liberia.
However, when this paper visited Slagbowein Town in Margibi County where Public Health Initiative-PHIL has been providing some assistance to three of the several children who lost their parents during the outbreak of the Ebola virus, Slagbowein Town Chief, David Slogborh lauded PHIL for the initiative over the past months.
He disclosed further how remorselessly the disease affected the community, killing several persons and leaving behind orphans to be taken care of.
When our reporter visited the community, he vividly saw several children who were orphaned by their late parents, with at least little assistance being given by community residents but PHIL came at the right time with her back to school program.
Although, PHIL is currently sponsoring three of the several children in schools, but the need to at least have all of these children and other survivors included was a concern.
Meanwhile, when our reporter arrived on the campus of the Global Christian Academy where three orphans under the direct care of Public Health Initiative are currently in school, “Ebola” appears to be the worst killer disease in the minds of the kids.
The orphans, while weeping and gnashing their teeth, said their parents died from Ebola. Both Abraham and Cyrus Diggs could not lift up their heads, while, Chris Donko had his fingers in his mouth with tears streaming down his cheeks.
“These children are going through some time of counseling; at least they are getting on par with their friends, but the havoc caused and pain Ebola left has remained a mark of trauma which will take time for them to recover,” the Principal, Otis D. Nyemah stated.
The project, Community Based Psychosocial Support to Ebola Orphans and Affected Children was initiated by Public Health Initiative Liberia-PHIL as an Emergency Response to ensure that Ebola orphans and affected children’s basic needs are met by providing access to psychological support and care.
About 90 Ebola Orphans and 60 families, 30 Ebola orphans in each county and 20 families in each for three months began last December in three counties, MARGIBI, BONG AND NIMBA.
According to a release from the office of the Executive Director of Public Health Initiative Liberia -PHIL, the project has four (4) main components, Psycho-social support to Ebola Orphans, affected families and communities.
To provide immediate socioeconomic purse to families of Ebola orphans, establish network of community based psychosocial facilitators to work with Ebola Orphans, and to vigorously communicate the campaign on psychosocial support to Ebola Orphans and affected children.
It is further to produce and air psychosocial support messages in local vernaculars on Ebola Orphans and affected families, produce 6 psychosocial support wall murals at two in each of the project counties Public Places preferably schools and health facilities, identify and select 45 community based psychosocial support facilitators, 15 per county across the 3 counties, conduct training for 45 community based psychosocial support facilitators and conduct weekly group psychosocial counseling and education session for Ebola Orphans.
Additionally the project will work closely with Ministries of Gender, Health, Education and Justice. These are national institutions that play a key role in the well-being of a child towards social, physical and psychosocial protection. These institutions will be engaged to support the achievement of the project goals, advocate for the well-being and protection of Ebola Orphans and affected children.