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Don Bosco Matadi - Monrovia

Home for the young


The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is spreading exponentially in Liberia and, according to the WHO, thousands of new cases are expected in the next three weeks.
Sierra Leone is planning a “lockdown”. For some days in September, people in Sierra Leone will be confined to their homes.  Medical teams go from door-to-door looking for hidden patients and corpses.
In September, a total of 4,269 confirmed and suspected cases, with 2,288 deaths, have been reported by the governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Liberia remains the worst-hit country with 2,192 clinical cases reported and 1,223 deaths. Doctors without Borders believe that the number of infected and dead people could be two to four times higher than reported. With the increasing lack of medical personnel and availability of beds in hospitals and clinics, infected persons and patients are compelled to return home with their sick relatives, thus favouring the spreading of the disease.
A tremendous amount of attention is placed on the infection and the possibilities of curbing further spread, but the social and economic consequences of EVD are being overlooked.
Schools remain closed and students remain at home with no academic activity. Business and economic activities continue to suffer. Cultural cohesion and solidarity is decreasing as people are paranoid of contagion. The reconstruction effort under way after devastating years of civil war is now in danger due to the political instability caused by the pandemic. One of our major concerns is the aftermath of the epidemic.
Salesians in Liberia have been invited to be part of the National Catholic Task Force. In the area of outreach and prevention-education, fifty youth animators of the Sean Deveraux Youth Centre in Matadi have already organized prevention activities. These include visiting the city squares, performing dramas, distributing leaflets, and assisting poor families with food items and sanitary materials.
Don Bosco Youth Network, the local NGO with headquarters in Ghana, is opening a branch in Monrovia together with the Salesians of Don Bosco in Liberia, to plan a strategy for emergency interventions.
Salesians in Sierra Leone have almost finished the setting-up of an Interim Children Care Centre for 60 children affected by the Ebola epidemic. The registration of children will be carried out through Don Bosco Fambul Child Line in coordination with the Ministry of Social Welfare of Sierra Leone. A group of Salesians, priests and practical trainees, will run the centre with the help of some Salesian Cooperators, nurses, social workers, teachers and young assistants. Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has had a conversation via Skype with all Salesians working in Sierra Leone. He offered his support and imparted the Blessing of Mary Help of Christians upon them.
The Salesians are already thinking about how to reach out to the more than 8000 students who attend our 9 Primary and 5 Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Some interesting ideas have already emerged, such as starting a community radio and distributing solar radios to students to enable them to follow lessons, homework and tests. For students of upper classes who own a phone, the use of Whatsapp and Facebook could be another interesting and innovative way of on-line teaching in this time of Ebola.  For the majority of our children and young people, lack of electricity and lack of access to the internet represent a major obstacle to the effort to provide education for all during the Ebola outbreak.
Thankfully, Ghana has not yet recorded its first Ebola case. We continue to inform the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Services of our readiness to assist in a Nationwide Ebola Prevention Awareness Campaign (NEPAC) through the NGO, Don Bosco Youth Networks West Africa (DBYN).  Materials have been produced to educate the people on radio, TV and in the printed media. Through the National Catholic Health Unit these materials will be used in parishes and Catholic Schools and Societies to prevent or lessen any possible outbreak.

Fr Jorge Crisafulli SDB
Provincial, Salesians of Don Bosco
English-speaking West Africa

AFW Press Release n.3 -  14/09/2014





14th September, 2014 by Admin





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