IRIN: Stigma leaves Liberia’s Ebola workers high and dry

Below are extracts from IRIN, the UN humanitarian news site. The full text is freely available here:

http://www.irinnews.org/report/101623/stigma-leaves-liberia-s-ebola-workers-high-and-dry

I would be interested to hear about experience in Sierra Leone and Guinea, and what is being done to address the issue.

Stigma leaves Liberia’s Ebola workers high and dry

By Prince Collins

MONROVIA, 11 June 2015 (IRIN) – Liberia’s Ebola outbreak has been over for a while, so what has happened to all those burial teams, contact tracers, Ebola Treatment Unit health workers, community mobilisers, ambulance drivers? What are they doing now? The answer is not a lot. The majority of the estimated 20,000 or so workers and volunteers who risked their lives during the year-long fight are unable to find work, largely due to lingering stigma and fears about the virus…

Stigma and discrimination have been a problem in all of the Ebola-affected countries since the start of the outbreak. Much of it has been led by the fear of the unknown, as this is the first time Ebola has affected people in West Africa. Despite intensive education campaigns, many say they still aren’t sure how the virus is and isn’t spread…

Some international organisations, such as Save the Children, say they have also made an effort to recruit Ebola workers, who now have valuable health and social mobilisation skills. But many local business owners say they are not yet ready to employ Ebola workers. A supermarket manager in Margibi county, for example – who wished to remain anonymous – said he was still not convinced it was safe to have contact with people who had worked on Ebola response or were Ebola survivors. He still believed they might be infectious…

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge – Join HIFA: www.hifa2015.org

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