A long awaited international response has arrived for West Africa in its fight against Ebola. President Barack Obama announced Tuesday, his plans to send 3,000 military troops and medical personnel to combat the treatment and spread of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Most of this effort will be focused in rural Liberia, the hardest hit region of the epidemic. Plans include the construction of 17 new treatment centers with 100 beds each, and $75 million dollars to fund protective gear, medical and sanitation supplies.
There is no question the necessity of these materials in the treatment and prevention of Ebola. Albeit, perhaps even more important in curbing the spread of disease is the fight to regain trust amongst a citizenry that have become deeply mistrustful of the government and its faltering response. Hiding infected bodies and contacts, fleeing treatment centers and deadly clashes with military enforcement at quarantine zones have become all too common.
In light of such realities, Dr. Mosoka Fallah of Monrovia suggests in a recent article that, "we must look to the communities for leadership--where trust has been previously built." By utilizing stakeholders in affected communities, Ebola prevention work might become most successful. This will be important to consider as thousands of foreign troops are poised to enter Liberia over the next few weeks.
We remain hopeful at everyday gandhis that recent developments will make it possible for us to continue our awareness and prevention efforts in and around Voinjama. Using our knowledge of, and relationship with surrounding communities will remain pivotal in fostering effective solutions to this ongoing crisis.
-Jenna Hammerlag, Media Coordinator, everyday gandhis