The Liberian Women Humanitarian Network (LWHN) recently conducted a one day sensitization outreach in, Wacco Community, Grand Cape Mount County on Monkey Pox. The sensitization came in the wake of 2 confirmed cases of the virus/disease in the area.
The exercise was geared towards educating members of the community on the virus, its mode of transmission, ways to avoid the virus, and how to treat in the instances of infection.
Whilst the discussion was centered on Monkeypox, the team used the opportunity to also talk about infectious diseases spreading, control and how to react when there exists no medical personnel immediately. The outreach awareness engage both men, women and youths. Like most rural communities, the issues of limited access to safe drinking water, health facilities and timely treatment are among the numerous challenges faced by dwellers.
To date, there are 6 confirmed cases of the virus in 3 counties in Liberia and 28 cases in Nigeria.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that produces pox lesions on the skin and is closely related to smallpox but is not nearly as deadly as smallpox was. Monkeypox virus causes monkeypox and the majority of cases are transmitted from animals (rodents) to humans by direct contact. Person-to-person transfer, probably by droplets, can occur infrequently. Risk factors for monkeypox include close association with African animals (usually rodents) that have the disease or caring for a patient who has monkeypox.
During the first few days, symptoms are nonspecific and include fever, nausea, and malaise. After about four to seven days, lesions (pustules, papules) develop on the face and trunk that ulcerate, crust over, and begin to clear up after about 14-21 days, and lymph nodes enlarge. There may be some scarring.[i]
The Liberia Women Humanitarian Network was formed in 2016 out of a need to stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti after Hurricane Matthew which left several hundred people dead in its wake.
Having recently recovered from a national health emergency crisis, women from diverse backgrounds who mostly lead national charities saw this as a way to lend support to the people of Haiti, specifically women and children who are often the hardest hit during such crisis.
The network also later did a fundraising to also support the victims of the mudslide disaster in Sierra Leone and raised $2000 which was channeled thru the women led organization, 50/50 to support victims with immediate relief items to help them recuperate.
Liberia suffered from Ebola in 2014 which left more than 5000 people dead. The disease e spread rapidly at the time due to lack of knowledge on care, prevention and awareness. With the recent announcement of a new outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, the outreach was also a good opportunity to remind people about the importance of not just community hygiene but also to avoid eating “bush meat” and playing with monkeys.
Ms. Facia Harris who runs the Paramount Young Women Initiative said the reason she is interested and supports such networks is because it provides an opportunity to show that first response starts with nationals. She noted “We try to respond to different needs in our communities and networks, but coming together as women with different interest and backgrounds of work is an expression of unity and togetherness in meeting the needs of others in a more timely and critical manner. The skills, resources and experience once brought together change the narratives around humanitarian work and promotes localization and ownership.
I work with girls and women through educational and empowerment programs.” Facia Harris, the Executive director of Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI) Mrs. Naomi Tulay-Solanke also stressed the need for more community engagement by local actors especially women led organizations at the national levels. She believe that having more women at the frontline of humanitarian response will help change the male dominated and gender biased within the humanitarian system. Humanitarian response will become more local, effective and gender trans-formative.
The Liberia Women Humanitarian Network was formed in 2016 out of a need to stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti after Hurricane Matthew which left several hundred people dead in its wake. A reflection of the Ebola crisis in Liberia and its adverse effects on women and children primarily motivated women leaders from diverse backgrounds to lend support to the people of Haiti facilitated the establishment of the Liberia Women Humanitarian Network . The network successfully supported victims of the mudslide disaster in Sierra Leone and raised approximately $ 2,000 USD through local fundraising. The fund was channeled through a selected local women-led organization to support victims with immediate relief items and help them recuperate. The network intends to do more awareness in the near future, with focus on the Lassa Fever outbreak which has now claimed the lives of more than 12 persons in 4 counties with 24 confirmed cases over the last 5 months.
Maimah Pellam, Executive Director of Serene Mobile Clinic, a charity that provides mobile healthcare support to families in rural communities in Liberia said “Being a part of the LWHN is an opportunity to work with other women groups, who have similar passion in serving or giving back to our country . I also saw it necessary to join the team in reaching out to Grand Cape Mount County upon receiving the news about the monkey pox outbreak. It was important because we as a network vow to respond to any situation that has a potential to cause problems especially health and social welfare amongst people of Liberia:
Brenda Moore of the Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) noted that the network intends to do more awareness in the near future, with focus on the Lassa Fever outbreak which has now claimed the lives of more than 12 persons in 4 counties with 24 confirmed cases over the last 5 months. She said it top of their priroty list for the next few weeks as awareness is key to prevention and control.