Liberia National Red Cross Society Ebola Response
The Liberia National Red Cross Society Ebola Response was the institution's swift emergency health response to the deadly Ebola Virus disease in Liberia.
Through its over 4,800 volunteers, the Liberia Red Cross provided services such as dead body management and picking up of Ebola victims; spraying of infested communities; and providing ambulance services, social mobilization, and pyscho-social support to communities and affected persons, through its volunteers and overall providing 24/7 alert response through its robust ambulance crew to affected communities and vulnerable people affected by Ebola between July 2014 and May 2015.
The campaign had the following aims:
1. To response swiftly to the national health emergency (Ebola) that had overwhelmed the country, through the support of volunteers;
2. To provide prompt and emergency ambulance service to pick up sick people affected by Ebola;
3. To provide a pick up service and dead body management for people victimized by Ebola through a volunteer service;
4. To provide psycho-social support and social mobilization through affected communities and to affected people;
4. Volunteers conducted contact tracing in affected communities.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
The objective of this campaign was fully achieved with the support of the Liberia National Red Cross Society with 4,800 volunteers who selflessly dedicated their services to ensuring that Ebola was defeated in Liberia.
The risk taken by the 4,800 volunteers cannot be overemphasized; Liberia is proud that their support through volunteerism helped Liberia to become an Ebola free country.
The campaign has led to a national Ebola recovery strategic plan being developed and implemented by the Liberia National Red Cross to helped solve many of the problem facing vulnerable people and communities throughout Liberia.
The impact of the campaign can be seen in the attitude and behavior change in people and communities impacted by the Red Cross intervention towards safe hygienic practices, practicing healthy lifestyles, and communities' responsiveness to a health crisis.
The biggest challenge during the campaign, was to get communities and people to understand and accept the social mobilization messages, messaging on healthy practices to avoid contracting the disease Ebola, and getting communities to know and accept that Ebola was a deadly disease.
Lessons learnt include:
1. Mobilising communities is vital to ensure that health emergencies are prevented or mitigated;
2. The role volunteers play is crucial to respond to health or humanitarian crises;
3. Coordination between the Liberia National Red Cross Society, partners and communities helped to find solutions for a health and emergency response;
4. Ebola or other diseases must not be given a space to thrive in Liberia again, through the continuous practice of healthy lifestyles.