Several Ebola survivors in Liberia have renewed call for Liberians to stop stigma and discrimination against them, saying they too are human beings like any other person in the society.
Survivors of deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have consistently complained about being discriminated against and stigmatized by their relatives and friends even though they were declared freed from the disease several months ago. The Ebola survivors made the passionate plea on June 4, 2016 in Monrovia at the ongoing psychosocial training for Ebola survivors. They noted that the virus is no longer in their system and there should be no fear on the part of anyone to avoid them. Ebola Survivors Association of Liberia (ESAL) Program Manager Sekou Kanneh told The Capitol Times that the psychosocial training will help survivors to overcome trauma currently being faced in Liberia. “We are trying to make survivors to overcome their traumas and to also have a one-on-one experience with others,” Mr. Kanneh added. “Survivors feel much pleased when they are talking with one another as compared to non-Ebola survivors,” the ESAL official noted. Speaking further, the ESAL program manager intimated that the training is targeting EVD survivors across Liberia, especially Bomi, Margibi, Bassa, Nimba and other accessible counties. He expressed optimism that following the training survivors will understand and know how to cope with their status in society. Sekou Kanneh disclosed that plans are underway to lobby with other national and international donor organizations to ensure that EVD survivors get some assistance. According to him, widows of Ebola victims will be some beneficiaries of any assistance from donors. Speaking on stigma and discrimination, Fatu Sirleaf, an Ebola survivor, said after been declared free from the virus some of their colleagues continue to neglect them. She added that with the psychosocial training being conducted by ESAL and WAESOA, many of them are managing to overcome trauma. “The training has helped us to learn about how to get rid of trauma,” said Fatu. She mentioned further that after the training workshop, she will help others who don’t understand the plights of EVD survivors to get more knowledge. The Ebola Survivors Association of Liberia and the West Africa Ebola Survivors Affected organizations with funding from PCI Media Impact are training over 45 EVD survivors on various capacity building programs, including project proposal writing, monitoring and evaluation, as well as psychosocial training. The two week training is expected to climax this Saturday. The Ebola survivors association of Liberia (ESAL), Incorporated was founded as a not-for-profit organization with the sole purpose and responsibility to promote equality and ensure good livelihood for Ebola survivors (children and adults), Ebola-related orphans and woman that are vulnerable in society.