MONROVIA, Liberia, January 14, 2016 -- Liberia has been declared Ebola free today for the third time, after 42 days without any new cases. But Plan International urges caution so that no new cases re-emerge this time.
More than 11,000 people have died from Ebola since the outbreak in West Africa in December 2013, which includes more than 4,000 people in Liberia.
Koala Oumarou, Country Director of Plan International Liberia, said: “A major milestone has been achieved today in the fight against Ebola. However, there is no room for complacency and we will have to remain on alert to eliminate any chance of the deadly disease making a comeback. Communities in Liberia will still have to be cautious and maintain basic hygiene practices in order to avoid new cases.”
Plan International has been at the forefront of the Ebola response in Liberia, helping to rebuild communities by providing health centers, training health care workers such as nurses, delivering learning opportunities, and providing psychosocial support to children affected.
Abibatu, a 16-year-old Ebola survivor, said: “I feel happy but also sad. I am happy because now we will go back to our normal lives. Children will go back to school. With more girls attending school, hopefully we will see a reduction in teenage pregnancy and child marriage. But, when I think of those who have lost their lives, especially my family members who are not here to see this day, I feel sad. I wonder how life will now be without them.”
Mr. Oumarou added: “The Ebola outbreak caused emotional and physical damage to survivors and communities. The country has been deeply impacted by the Ebola outbreak, and addressing the multiple consequences will be critical in the coming years. There is a lot to rebuild.”
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About Plan International Liberia
Plan International started working in Liberia in 1982 to help poor children to access their rights to education, health, and protection. Civil unrest forced the organization to close down in 1993;
however, it reopened in December 2006 and continues to help children living in poverty.
Plan International has responded to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
About Plan International USA
Plan International USA, part of the Plan International Federation, is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty. Everything Plan does – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit PlanUSA.org.