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Water Aid Supports initiatives to eliminate Ebola

WASH R&E "Media" Network
(L-R) WaterAid Liberia Emergency Response Coordinator, Mohammed Ali and WaterAid Chief Executive Officer, Barbara Frost
(L-R) WaterAid Liberia Emergency Response Coordinator, Mohammed Ali and WaterAid Chief Executive Officer, Barbara Frost

(www.elbc.com/March 6, 2015)-As Water Aid backs President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s $60 million Water and Sanitation in schools’ appeal, the battle against the dreadful Ebola virus continues, Liberia and its partners are leaving no stone unturned in the fight against the virus to ensure it is fully eradicated. 

One of such partners is the British charity WaterAid. The charity has put in place a number of preventive measures and has strategized means in containing the spread of the Ebola virus.

WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone is working with the government of Liberia and other partners ensuring that the virus is eradicated from Liberia.

Speaking an exclusive interview with the WASH Media in Monrovia, the Emergency Response Coordinator for WaterAid Liberia, Mohammed Ali  said his entity has been engaged in the fight against Ebola through partners and government Ministries.

He also said WaterAid has been working with the WASH Cluster and the National Water Sanitation and hygiene Promotion Committee at the Ministry of Public Works  ensuring that efforts aimed at eradicating the Ebola virus is achieved.

He disclosed that as part of WaterAid's efforts, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the National WASH secretariat to carry out the training of County WASH Coordinators. Mr. Ali said upgrading water facilities at various Ebola Treatment units has been part of the response of WaterAid in the fight against the Ebola virus.

He said his organization is currently upgrading the water system at Island Clinic Ebola Treatment Unit near Monrovia. As part of WaterAid's intervention at the Island Clinic, two wells were rehabilitated, and telescope provided. He adding that another MOU will be signed for the provision of additional stand pipes.

He said WaterAid is also carrying on the rehabilitation through one of its partners, "WASECO" at the Island Clinic ETU. Touching on WaterAid's intervention in Margibi County, Mr. Ali said his entity is partnering with Shalom, a local based organization in carrying out hygiene education and awareness in several communities in the county.

He revealed that WaterAid is working in three Districts in the county and will shortly provide safe drinking water to two communities...BKT and Carmeyah.
These communities according to him, are desperately in need of safe drinking water. He also disclosed that his organization will shortly sign another MOU with the Ministry of Health to upgrade the water system of four health centers in Montserrado county.

He named the health centers as the Broomely, Nyan, Careysburg and the Kpala Clinics. These clinics will be provided water storage facilities, bore holes amongst other. He further said WaterAid is contemplating working with other health centers in the future to improve WASH facilities at health institutions in Liberia.

H said, beginning  April WaterAid will  introduce WASH Program at schools in Liberia. He also said a comprehensive assessment study will be carried out to find out what sort of assistance schools need in term of WASH.

Meanwhile, WaterAid has gaven its support to a $60 million fundraising appeal launched by the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to protect schoolchildren from Ebola and other contagious diseases. This month, Liberian children are returning to schools which still lack access to clean, safe water and functional toilets – unsanitary conditions which allow disease to spread.

More than half of Liberian schools (55%) do not have a supply of clean, safe water. Four out of ten (43%) do not have functional latrines, and four out of five (82%) lack hand-washing facilities. $60.5 million will be needed over the next two years to provide safe drinking water, improved sanitation facilities and hygiene education to the 2,500 schools in Liberia currently without access to these basic services.

With donors’ help, water-points and hand washing facilities can be built in 1,800 schools and latrines can be built in a further 1,300.  Hygiene education will also be provided to every student in the country.

Madam Barbara Frost, Chief Executive Officer at WaterAid said: “Without reliable water and sanitation facilities, schools become fertile ground for diseases, and children cannot practise the good hygiene which will keep them healthy and safe.” “We are urging donors to help us to ensure that every school in Liberia has access to clean, safe water and sanitation facilities.”

The Ebola epidemic has highlighted the critical role that water, sanitation and hygiene play in preventing the spread of diseases.  Plentiful supplies of water and vigilant hygiene, including hand-washing with soap and disinfectants, have been essential in efforts to contain the crisis.

WaterAid has been active in the fight against Ebola in working with the Ministry of Health to provide water and sanitation to Ebola treatment centres, handing out hygiene promotion kits, including chlorine and soap, and promoting the uptake of Ebola prevention measures in 40 communities in Margibi – one of the areas hardest hit by the epidemic.

Better access to clean water and safe toilets in schools will improve children’s health and their educational development, helping them to remain in school and improving their ability to learn.  And it is great value for money, producing $4 worth of benefits for every $1 spent.

A child every minute dies from diarrhoeal disease linked to a lack of clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene– almost 6000 a day.
Some 58 million primary-school-aged children around the world are not enrolled in school; poor access to safe water and a lack of basic toilets contributes to this number.

 


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