Ebola Crisis Response

Youth Emergency Anti-Ebola Campaign

Youth Emergency Anti-Ebola Campaign
A woman shares her story during an Ebola prevention event supported by United Methodist Women.

The Church Responds

From October 14-25, 2014, the Young People's Ministries of the Liberia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church undertook a Youth Emergency Anti-Ebola Campaign Project implemented in three counties, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Bong. The program was supported by Regional Missionary Finda Quiwa through a grant from United Methodist Women Mission Giving.

We began with sending communication to relevant authorities, recruiting volunteers and procuring Ebola prevention materials. The Young People's Ministries Anti-Ebola Task Force conducted meetings and consultations with the stakeholders and scouted communities most in need, then drew out a final plan of action. The young people who were volunteers were trained phase by phase.

The project was geared toward stopping the spread of Ebola and enabling communities to deal with the outbreak. We distributed resources for prevention, raised community awareness and offered psychosocial counseling for affected families. Young people, community leaders, local authorities and church leaders were all involved, reaching approximately 122,000 people.

Outreach

The task force reached out to many communities, including churches and nursing homes. We wanted principally to enlighten people on the danger the virus poses and the measures they could take to prevent getting and spreading the disease. Prevention education included measures such as washing hands with soap regularly, avoiding contact with bodily fluids of sick people and dead bodies, reporting cases of sick people and not hiding them, and preparing handwashing solutions.

We distributed educational fliers and stickers and also educated community members on how to stop the stigma against Ebola survivors. The nursing homes especially appreciated the outreach, saying that The United Methodist Church were the first to provide such education.

In addition to educational fliers, other resources distributed included chloride to clean water, buckets with faucets, powdered soap, rice, vegetable oil, salt and Vita cubes to season food. Our teaching in these communities also provided the residents with new knowledge of using other substances such as ashes, lamb, salt and locally made soap to fight and prevent the virus in case the materials provided by The United Methodist Church's Young People's Ministries and other organizations run out and they do not have finance to procure them. We provided some supplies to the Central Office of the Liberia Annual Conference for distribution. We also tried to be simply listening ears for people who lost loved ones.

Looking Ahead

As we continue to work to end the spread of Ebola, we must keep providing education and awareness for the safety of our brothers and sisters. The orphans of Ebola must also be seriously considered.

We are grateful for the opportunity for the voices of young people to be in heard in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus through the Youth Emergency Anti-Ebola Campaign. We particularly recognize the efforts of Regional Missionary Finda Quiwa for the success of the project, and thank the volunteers, members of the task force and the Liberia Annual Conference as well as the West Africa Central Conference. We thank United Methodist Women members, whose Mission Giving supports Ms. Quiwa and supported this project.

We now know that when the history is written about the fight against the deadly disease, our name will not be left out. May God Almighty bless the works of our hands and save the church.


Sam T. I. Grimes is chairman and president of the West Africa Central Conference Youth and Young Adult Organization of The United Methodist Church.

Posted or updated: 5/11/2015 11:00:00 PM
 
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Learn More:

Ebola is a rare but deadly disease caused by the Ebola virus. A person infected with Ebola can only spread the disease after symptoms begin, and only through direct contact with body fluids—it is not airborne and cannot be spread by hugs or handshakes. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization. Source: World Health Organization


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