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11. May 2020

The fight against coronavirus in Liberia

The silence on the streets. Blue lights and sirens. Worrying about relatives, staff and the members of society most severely affected. Much of what we are currently experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic is reminiscent of the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa six years ago.

medica Liberia in the struggle against Ebola

At that time, medica mondiale was in contact with its partner organisation medica Liberia almost every day. It was deeply impressive to see what the Liberian activists were managing to do during the crisis. Staff members from the women's rights organisation medica Liberia carried out preventive health care measures in remote village communities and city neighbourhoods at the edge of the Liberian capital Monrovia. They informed the Liberian population about the risks of the deadly Ebola virus by holding events at marketplaces, using advertising billboards along the main road, and speaking on the radio.

Liberian activists providing comfort and solace

medica Liberia helped to set up hand washing facilities and clinics, as well as providing personal protective equipment to hospitals. Staff members supplied families in quarantine who had no other way of accessing food and water. At the same time they also were able to do something essential in a country where memories of traumatic wartime experiences were being triggered: they provided solace and comfort. By 2015, Ebola was deemed to be defeated and medica Liberia received an award for being one of the most active civil society organisations in the country’s struggle against the epidemic.

Liberia has not escaped the new coronavirus

While many people in Germany were apparently most concerned about toilet paper and pasta, the situation in Liberia is somewhat different. Here many women are simply asking themselves how they can feed their family. Many people go hungry and have no food reserves. Nor do they have sufficient water canisters or other facilities to store food.

medica Liberia offering assistance during the Covid-19 crisis

The experiences gained during the Ebola epidemic helped medica Liberia to react quickly to the new coronavirus. The organisation is distributing food packages to those affected, and its staff members are delivering hygiene articles to clinics at the marginalised edge of the city. They also carry out health education work in the village communities. Furthermore they have set up a telephone hotline to offer psychological assistance for women in emergency situations.

Rapid relief from the Covid-19 emergency fund

In order to help partner organisations such as medica Liberia during the Covid-19 pandemic, medica mondiale has set up an emergency fund. With immediate effect, all 34 partner organisations can request funds to carry out preventive healthcare work, provide counselling for those affected in the region, and conduct awareness work. Please help us to help our partner organisations perform this very important work!

Comment by Sybille Fezer: Working in times of Covid-19