Photos: Ebola prevention in action


January 22, 2015

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  • Groups of community educators are spreading lifesaving preventative information about Ebola to some of Liberia's most remote regions. All photos: Sean Sheridan for Mercy Corps

In the past few months, great progress has been made in stemming the spread of Ebola in Liberia. The number of reported cases has decreased significantly, but the fight to stop Ebola is not over.

“We are encouraged to see Ebola cases continue to drop in Liberia, but are aware that there are still critical information gaps when it comes to prevention,” said Mercy Corps’ Liberia Country Director Penny Anderson. “We are looking forward to an Ebola-free Liberia, but now is not the time to be complacent.”

On the outskirts of Monrovia, communities like this one are still struggling to deal with the effects of Ebola, and prevention messaging will be key to stopping Ebola long-term.

Just one case of Ebola can spark an outbreak, spreading rapidly and moving across country borders. To eradicate the disease completely, we must reach every corner of Liberia with preventative education.

Our team in Liberia is overseeing the training of 15,000 community educators, who are reaching 2 million people across the country with the essential information they need to protect themselves from Ebola.

We know that the most trusted information comes from within communities themselves, which is why we've partnered with local leaders and organizations to spread lifesaving information quickly and efficiently. Our program complements the Liberian Ministry of Health's "Ebola Must Go" campaign, and all of our partners participate in government-led coordination to ensure we are supporting the national response.

On almost every street, handwashing stations like this one use a 0.5% chlorine and water solution to stop any spread of disease.

With the support of USAID and the dedication of local groups, we are able to reach some of the most remote communities that may not have received any reliable information about how to prevent Ebola.

“We are working to expand our social mobilization activities in areas where the fight is most challenging, including border areas like Nimba County, which lies immediately to the west of Guinea,” said Anderson. “If we are to defeat Ebola and protect communities from future outbreaks we must remain vigilant.”

See what the activities look like on the ground in the photos below. Learn more about why community action is key to stopping Ebola for good ▸

Liberians attend a special education session to become public health trainers. Each trainer will pass on the preventative information to a larger group of community educators.

Jenny Bedell, who works with our partner PSI, is helping lead the training sessions. "What we're trying to do is help them understand that in the midst of Ebola, there is still hope."

In these sessions, the public health trainers are taught the program’s “Listen, Learn, Act” approach and are encouraged to use their own experiences to connect with others.

Participants in the Mercy Corps training sessions include Liberian citizens and staff from a variety of local organizations operating in Liberia.

Jacob K. Zor attended a training session in Monrovia. "We are learning how to handle misconceptions about the disease," he said. "I will have a great deal of information I can share with the next line of communicators."

Children, like these boys on the outskirts of Monrovia, have been greatly-affected by the outbreak. Many have lost parents and family members.

Local community educators from the Centre for Liberian Assistance take to the streets of Robertsport to educate people about the dangers of Ebola.

A woman talks to a group of local people about how to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Some community groups that have gone through Mercy Corps' training use song and dance to help people engage and learn about preventing the disease.

The community health group educates people of all ages, including these young boys in Robertsport.

After gathering people in the street, the educators go door-to-door to ensure that they reach every last person.

A community educator speaks to people in Robertsport about how to protect themselves.

A poster that reinforces what the Mercy Corps-trained community educators taught people. Important Ebola-prevention measures include always washing hands, avoiding contact with sick people and recognizing symptoms of the disease in order to notify local leaders and take action.

How you can help

Ebola can be beat. You can help people survive this outbreak and give communities the tools needed to contain the disease. Send emergency relief and long-term solutions to families struggling with Ebola and other hardships around the world. Give now ▸