'Ebola Is Real' on Streets of Monrovia

PHOTO: Community educators warn about the dangers of Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia.
Share
Copy

The rain-soaked roads of Monrovia tell an ominous truth: Ebola is real.

The message is spray-painted on walls in the capital of Liberia, the country hardest hit by the worst-ever Ebola outbreak. Nearly 700 people have died here, but denial and government mistrust continue to fuel the virus’s spread.

Ebola Outbreak: Life Inside the Hot Zone

Ebola Survivor 'Walked Through the Valley of Death'

Full Coverage of Ebola Outbreak

A group of young adults wearing colorful paper hats stood out on the earth-toned streets. “Ebola can kill,” one hat read. “Tell someone about Ebola,” read another. I asked the group what they were doing and they called over their leader. "We should be in school but this is more important," he told me. "We are going door to door to people's homes in our community telling them about Ebola. Telling them it is real. Telling them how to prevent it."

Some people do not believe that Ebola exists. They believe it’s all a government hoax. Just two weeks ago, an angry mob stormed an treatment center in West Point, a slum that has since been quarantined. The mob told patients they had malaria, not Ebola, and encouraged them to flee. When government mistrust runs this high, communities need to spread public health messages.

"What are you telling people to do? How do you prevent Ebola?" I asked the men and women wearing paper hats. "Don't touch anyone," one young man replied -- advice the group itself was heeding. No arms were linked, no hands were held. "Don't go to funerals," the man added. "Don't take care of sick people."

How hard those warnings must be to sell. What community doesn't want to gather to remember lost loved ones? Who doesn't want to care for the sick? To hold the hand of someone who is dying?

As simple as this group seems, its actions will make inroads at a time when governments and aid organizations can only reach so far. Ordinary people educating their own communities.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
A Gilchrist county sheriffs car sits at the end of a trailer home where 7 members of a family were slain by their grandfather in Bell, FL, Thursday, Sept., 18, 2014. The grandfather, Don Spirit, pictured, also killed himself.
Phil Sandlin/AP Photo | Gilchrist County Sheriffs Office
PHOTO:
St. Andre Bessette Catholic Church in Ecorse Michigan
PHOTO: Phoenix police officers escort Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer, to the 4th Avenue Jail following his arrest, Sept. 17, 2014 in Phoenix.
The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski/AP Photo