Bringing communities on board was key to Liberia’s success says Oxfam, as nation officially is declared Ebola free

In response to Liberia officially being declared Ebola free, Oxfam’s Country Director in Liberia Mamudu Salifu said:

“Today’s good news is a step forward for Liberia and also gives hope to the countries still tackling the disease. Liberia has worked hard to reach this point and the nation and its people should take credit for how they dealt with this terrible outbreak.  

“Shifting the approach from top down to bottom up was vital in getting Liberia to zero cases. The government recognised early on that working with ordinary people, rather than forcing health measures on them, would ease fears and mistrust around Ebola. Ensuring that communities play a leading role has been an essential factor in stopping the spread.

“Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea should now work together to ensure the region as a whole achieves zero cases. Building people’s trust is crucial and working with communities should be a priority if the region hopes to reach zero and stay there.

“This is an opportunity to build a better Liberia and strengthen support for the people whose lives have been devastated by the outbreak.  Improving healthcare, education and the economy would put Liberia on the road to recovery and help prevent another crisis. Liberia should stay vigilant and ensure that communities remain at the heart of the process, as the country begins to get back on its feet.”

Notes to editors: 

1. Oxfam has reached over 1.4 million people in Ebola affected countries since the start of our response in May 2014. In Liberia, we have supported almost 474,000 people through our water and sanitation activities in health facilities and schools as well as community based work spreading key messages to reduce Ebola transmission.

2. The epidemic reached its height in Liberia during September 2014, when the 21 day national average reached more than 60 confirmed cases per day  (Source: Liberian Ministry of Health Ebola Situation Reports)

Contact information: 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Meg Pruce +44 (0) 1865 472240 / +44 (0) 7824 824359 / mpruce1@oxfam.org.uk

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.