LIBERIA: WASH Sector Ends Sub Regional Workshop on Ebola

By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – A workshop aimed at providing a clear understanding of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) requirements for conducting assessment at Ebola Treatment Units  and Community Care Centers has ended in Bong County, central Liberia.

Group photo of Facilitators and participants

Group photo of Facilitators and participants

The workshop is also aimed at developing the capacity of WASH Team at the sub regional level in support to the fight against the Ebola outbreak.

The workshop held on under the theme “Building Capacity-Building of Integrated WASH/Assessment & Monitoring Team (IWAMT)”.

It brought together local WASH coordinators from Liberia’s 15 political sub divisions, Environmental Health Technicians, and UNICEF representatives amongst others.

The workshop covered topics like, “Structural designs for Ebola Treatment Units, Community Care Centers, Reports (Assessment & monitoring format, composition and functions of Integrated WASH Assessment and Monitoring Team” Coordination and collaboration, checklist for assessment and tools amongst several  other topics were also discussed at the workshop.

The sub regional workshop was facilitated by UNICEF WASH Cluster Coordinator, Eshard Karim, Michael Forson and Emilia Raila, Mohammed  Ali, WASH specialist, George Yarngo of the Public Works Ministry and Abdul Koroma of the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Committee.

Speaking at the start of the workshop, Public Works Assistant Minister for Community Services, George  Yarngo said it is the first of its kind for the sector to respond ensuring that coordinators  are given the necessary skills.

He said the workshop will also provide clearer understanding to team members who do not have basic WASH orientation to be proactive in ensuring that all guidelines set by the sector are observed during the construction of ETUs and CCCs.

Mr. Yarngo said the gathering indeed provided the medium for WASH Coordinators and other in the sub national level to discuss issues relating to their scope of operation.

Assistant Minister Yarngo said basically the gathering serves as an eye opener for other actors in the WASH sector to enhance their functions.

He further said the platform would create the opportunity  for  the beneficiaries to look at WASH issues from a broader prosectpetive.

He described WASH as the bed rock in the fight against the Ebola virus, as such it was important that proper training is provided to the local WASH Coordinators and Environmental Technicians to provide orientation in handling matters relating to ETUs and CCCs.

Providing an overview of the workshop , UNICEF WASH Cluster Coordinator, Eshard Karim, said the training workshop will provide local WASH coordinators and Environmental Technicians an insight to the operation of ETUs and CCCs.

Mr. Karim noted that one of the aims of the workshop is to equip actors with the necessary information to aid them in responding robustly to the fight against the Ebola virus.

The UNICEF WASH Cluster coordinator said it was vital for beneficiaries to have an insight to the operation of ETUs and CCCs.

The workshop is part of efforts to contain the rapid spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia which was firstly reported in March of this year in the District of Foya, Lofa County from a spilled over in neighboring Guinea.

With the United Nations, European Union, African Union and the West African Grouping ECOWAS including the Mano River Basin as well as other friendly countries doing all they can, the Liberian Government is still exerting all means and efforts to combat the spread of the deadly virus.

It was in similar direction, Liberia’s Vice President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai at the Public Works Ministry in May of this year launched another component of the WASH Sector and Government’s fight against the Ebola outbreak in the country named and styled: “WASH Ebola Away Strategy”.

This Strategy is directly coordinated by the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector of Liberia, through the National WASH Promotion Committee as part of the National Ebola Response.

The Media Component/Public Awareness of the “WASH Ebola Away Strategy” is being sponsored by Global communities (formerly CHF International).

The charity was the first international organization to respond to the Ebola outbreak in the country by providing hygienic materials and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to clinics in Lofa County.

Global Communities brought about relief in the fight against Ebola by playing a proactive role in the fight against Ebola.

The charity has established burial teams in the country to assist in the timely removal of dead bodies and training of Environmental Health Technicians.