Ebola struck the country in 2014, killing some 4,000 people. According statistics from the Ministry of Health, about 5,000 persons survived the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, which also left several children orphaned.
The launch of the Ebola Transmission Prevention and Survivor Services (ETP&SS) program Tuesday attracted Ebola survivors, officials of the Ministry of Health, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Agency For International Development (USAID).
The two-year program, which started six months ago, is being held under the auspices of the Advancing Partners and Communities, a USAID-funded project implemented by JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc. and partner FHI360.
Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) advances and supports community programs that improve the overall health of communities and achieve other health-related impacts. The program operates under the umbrella of priorities set by USAID’s Global Health Ebola Team.
Dr. Rose Macauley, Ebola Transmission Prevention and Survivor Services, Chief of Party, said the core objectives include strengthening coordination and management of activities for Ebola survivors, according to a release issued in Monrovia.
It also seeks to improve access for Ebola survivors to health services through health facilities that care for survivors and combat stigma and discrimination among providers; and building health system capacity to provide specialized health services to care for common complications.
She said the program would focus on Montserrado, Margibi, Bong and Lofa which, according to her, are considered ‘high priority counties’. She was, however, quick to point out that the survivors in the other counties will receive clinical guidance and support for referral pathways.
She also explained that the program seeks to mitigate the risk of resurgence of the Ebola virus, ensure the effective delivery of health care and psychological support services, as well as strengthen health services used by survivors.
According to Madam Macauley, Ebola survivors continue to experience psychological conditions which require specialized medical attention that is difficult to access because of stigma and discrimination.
Dr. Macauley indicated that under the program, they would work with the Ministry of Health to implement select components of the Ebola Survivor Care and Support Policy, which address many of the challenges that Ebola survivors face in accessing health services.