Jenneh Swaray, an Ebola survivor has been recruited as the health counselor in West Africa.
The 20-year-old was one of ten thousands struck down last year by the world's most infectious disease. She had lost nine members of her family to Ebola between July and August last year, when the virus was at its peak.
AdvertisementShe was extremely sick with the disease and suffered its distressing symptoms. But still she was released from the Ebola treatment center in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, and was placed in quarantine. After 21 days doctors declared her free of the illness, allowing her to return home.
Jenneh said: "I come from a large family, like most Liberians. And like so many others, because of a lack of awareness, they did not believe the virus existed. Even today, no one is quite sure why some of those who contracted Ebola survived, while so many others lost their lives."
More than 11,000 people died due to the worst Ebola outbreak till date in the three states namely Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Nearly 30,000 people have been officially recorded as having contracted the disease.
In June, Liberia was declared Ebola-free. But still there have been recent new cases. Therefore the intervention of someone like Jennah will be effective for creating awareness about hygiene in the slum areas.
She works with the charity Y Care International - the global aid provider for the YMCA. She has started educating about hygiene and sanitation in the Monrovia's West Point slum.
A key element of Y Care's work is to give job training that enables people to earn enough to provide the basics for their families.
Tim Kamaboakai, who runs the charity in Liberia, said: "During the crisis many routines and jobs were interrupted and people were afraid to interact, even with their own relatives and friends. With the end of the crisis, there is a huge need for revitalization. Survivors of Ebola are finding it difficult to get a job or run a business because people are afraid. All of these contribute to a complex aftermath."
Y Care chief executive Adam Leach said: "The threat of Ebola has been catastrophic, creating fear and devastating the lives of slum communities crippled by poverty. Our Tools for Recovery campaign is about practical action to help. It includes the equipment and infrastructure to get water and sanitation into poor neighborhoods, skills training to make a living, business advice to get enterprises going, and communications to make sure Ebola doesn't come back."
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