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17 September 2014

Ebola: Desperate appeal from Liberian NGOs

Press release: Cologne, September 17, 2014. Ebola is not only a medical emergency: it is a crisis that could seriously destabilise the whole affected region in Western Africa. Medical expertise, funding and logistical support are all vitally essential if this crisis is to be brought under control. This is the message from medica mondiale Liberia in a joint declaration with other Liberian non-governmental organisations to demand urgent assistance.

“Our colleagues in Liberia are doing everything they can to support the hospitals and health centres in their struggle against Ebola and to inform the public about the risks of infection and the appropriate ways to behave if symptoms appear,” says Dr. Monika Hauser, gynaecologist and founder of the women’s rights organisation medica mondiale. “The population of Liberia will not be able to deal with this crisis on their own. We have to ensure that the demands of the Liberian NGOs and the appeal from President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf are heard in Europe. Liberia needs our help!”

medica mondiale started working in Liberia in 2006, building up the now independent women’s rights organisation medica mondiale Liberia to support women affected by sexualised violence.

Joint statement of Liberian non-governmental organisations

In a joint statement with other Liberian non-governmental organisations, medica mondiale Liberia makes the following appeal:

  1. Without delay, the United States, the European Union and the organisations of the United Nations, especially WHO and UNICEF, have to provide further aid to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to guarantee the continued provision of medical care locally. This has to include deployment of infectious disease experts and disaster relief specialists.
  2. Substantial resources are needed to ensure that infected people are identified and taken to the isolation units to curtail the spread of the virus. There is a lack of testing and quarantine facilities, too few ambulances and helicopters, not enough personal protection equipment, and insufficient opportunities for safe burials of Ebola fatalities. Quarantined communities also urgently need to receive supplies of food and water.
  3. The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) should increase its police presence alongside the Liberian police to ensure that national security can be maintained.
  4. Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union should allow flights into and out of Ebola-affected countries to ensure that medical staff and aid supplies can be delivered to those affected countries.
  5. Finally, support should be provided to Liberian civil society initiatives to scale up their efforts to prevent further Ebola infection.

“This crisis is driving Liberia to the verge of collapse,” declares Caroline Bowah Brown, Director of medica mondiale Liberia. “Our healthcare system no longer works. Many hospitals are completely overwhelmed. This also leads to other illnesses such as malaria or typhoid fever not being treated, which causes further deaths. Over 40 doctors and nurses have died so far. More than half of the Ebola fatalities are women. The majority of healthcare professionals in the hospitals are women and in families and villages it is women who take care of the sick and dead.”

Background informations about medica mondiale Liberia

medica mondiale has been working in Liberia since 2006. 14 years of civil war have left their mark. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world. The state of the streets, hospitals and entire social infrastructure was already extremely precarious before the Ebola outbreak. Domestic violence, sexual exploitation and rape are widespread. medica mondiale provides psychosocial, legal and medical counselling to women and girls in order to help them process their experiences of violence. The organisation is also involved in political advocacy and public awareness projects to benefit women and girls and bring an end to violence.

Contact press officer medica mondiale

Beate Kriechel
Press Officer
Tel.: +49 0221 931898-50
E-Mail: bkriechel(at)medicamondiale.org

Related issues

Joint statement with other Liberian non-governmental organisations (PDF), signed by medica mondiale Liberia