During the peak of EVD crisis in Bomi, many people stopped going for treatment at the County’s hospitals and clinics due to fear of contamination from sick persons being admitted, a release from Action Contre La Faim marking the end of an Ebola Prevention said.
“Unsafe water supplies, poor sanitary conditions, coupled with improper hygiene practices in health facilities were evident enough to scare people away. As a result, some treated themselves and their loved ones at home with drugs from street peddlers,” the release said.
ACF noted that the condition was a scene of irony in the sense that health facilities meant to save lives were now misunderstood to be killing grounds. Simultaneously, the vulnerability of children to under-nutrition increased in the county as mothers suddenly became hesitant to bring their children to health facilities.
Furthermore, the release said an increase in the number of confirmed and death cases daily in the county created a situation which led many people unstable mentally arising from fear, panic, trauma, isolation, stress and stigma.
According to statistics from the Bomi County Health Team (BCHT), Bomi experienced a total of 262 EVD cases, 133 deaths-ten of whom were health care workers, and thirty EVD survivors. The epidemic exposed the already fragile health system of the county leaving 165 children orphans.
With funding from the United States Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the German Government (GIZ), Action Contre la Faim (ACF) launched a program in December 2014 aimed at responding to the emerging humanitarian needs in Bomi, the release said.
The intervention was directed at strengthening the County Health Teams to rapid containment of the Ebola outbreak through its support to Contact Tracing, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH), Psychosocial Support (PSS) and Nutrition programs.
Over the past eight months, ACF’s PSS Team, through psychosocial support had helped to reduce the level of stress, fear and stigma of EVD-affected families with specific attention to children, mothers, and frontline health workers.
ACF Nutrition team was also able to integrate Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) services with the Ebola response. In this regard, the team conducted trainings for MoH staff on IPC (Infection Prevention and Control) and nutrition protocols in the context of Ebola.
The end of project ceremony held at Beh Town Clinic in Bomi, brought together representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Medical Team International (MTI), Ministry of Public works (MPW) and the Bomi County Health Team (BCHT).
At the ceremony, ACF Bomi County Field Coordinator, Arnaud Lavergne presented to the Bomi County Health Team, 5 WaSH Packages for use in 5 Public Health Units of the county.
The packages included: Water points, Latrines, Incinerators and Placental Pit constructed by ACF in partnership with a local NGO, Ground Water Exploration Incorporated (GWEI). The Liberia Government Hospital, Sass Town, Suehn, Goghen, and Beh Town Clinics are facilities benefiting from the action. Representative of the Bomi County Health Team, Dr. Williamatta S. Williams-Gibson lauded ACF for the level of good work in the County and challenge OICs of the various clinics to take good care of the WaSH facilities adding “If you don’t maintain it yourself, ACF will not come to maintain it for you”.