CSOs Enter Ebola Fight – Launch Coordinated Efforts to Support Disease Response

Sequel to the devastating outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country that has claimed the lives of over 50 Sierra Leoneans, local civil society groups have come together to form the Civil Society Platform on Ebola (CSPE) to support the overall response to the deadly epidemic.

The group, according to a press release, comprises of a number of civil society organizations which first met on June 20. The meeting was convened at the Society for Democratic Initiatives – Sierra Leone (SDI-SL) head offices in Freetown.

In attendance were representatives from African Youth Coalition Against Hunger (AYCAH), Transparency International Sierra Leone (TI-SL), Pikin-to-Pikin, 5050 Group, Budget Aocacy Network (BAN)NACE, Center For Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), NewsWatch Newspaper, Every Child Matters Sierra Leone (ECM-SL), Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI), Center for the Coordination of Youth Activities (CCYA), Network Movement for Youth and Child Welfare (NMYCW), and Health for all Coalition.

The platform, the release states, was created as a space for sharing information, coordinating civil society activities, and providing opportunity for organizations and individuals to contribute to ongoing initiatives.

“Recognizing that it is the duty of all Sierra Leoneans to play a role in the prevention and eradication of the disease, civil society finds itself similarly compelled to act. The need to augment the ongoing efforts is urgent. Therefore, CSPE has committed to contribute its members’ resources to see an end to [Ebola] in Sierra Leone,” the release, issued yesterday, states.

At the meeting, participants agreed that in this emergency situation, awaiting directives and donor funding would not be in the best interest of the population. The members agreed that an immediate and coordinated response, with whatever resources available at hand, is the only assurance to mitigate the damages and loss of life.

“This outbreak of Ebola is a national crisis and necessitates a national response, both from the government and civil society,” the group said.

Among many planned interventions, the group has agreed to engage in sensitization and information dissemination efforts to help reach those in the most affected communities. A bulletin of updates, according to them, will also be compiled and shared to keep the public abreast of the situation.

“Furthermore, acknowledging the essential shortage in personal protective equipment and disease prevention material such as gloves and chlorine, CSPE organizations will contribute to help fill these gaps. Each of the organizations is dedicated to carrying a share of the burden in their individual capacities,” the release says. “CSPE is committed to support the Ministry of Health and Sanitation’s effort, and to assist in the accurate information sharing that is critical to effectively bringing the spread of EVD to a halt.”

Source : Concord Times

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