Perception and Attitude Towards the Ebola Virus Disease In Liberia
Liberia, a nation recovering from 14 years of civil war, striving to rebuild crippled governance structures and badly damaged infrastructures, today remains the epicenter of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) since its outbreak in the Mano River Basin in March 2014. The impact of the deadly pandemic has been described as an unprecedented health crisis, with the death rate far surpassing global EVD afflictions since the inception of the virus in 1976 in what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As the disease continues to ravage Liberia, women who constitute the bulk of caregivers in every family setting, remain the hardest-hit. As a result they are exposed to the Ebola Virus Disease given the “touch-to-contract” nature of the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease.
Compounding the crisis is the fact that there is a prevailing sense of denial among Liberians, dismissing warnings about the disease, which is evidently largely responsible for the rapid spread. Visibly troubled by this, leaders of three women-centered and results-focused non-governmental organizations met and decided to conduct a study to ascertain the facts. The goal: to determine attitudes and perceptions toward and about the disease and the reasons behind those attitudes and perceptions.
This report is a result of that study and provides analysis, conclusion and recommendations aimed at encouraging behavioral change and the formulation of gender sensitive policy actions for Ebola prevention, contact tracing, disease treatment and survivor recovery. We remain convinced that it takes informed policy actions to not only generate positive responses, but also to ensure that such actions will provide improved access to better and timely health services to all persons, particularly women in especially difficult circumstances.
Consequently, we believe policy makers and government partners in the fight against Ebola will take this document into consideration in the course of taking further steps to chase the deadly Ebola Virus Disease out of Liberia.