Dakar - The partners of the Ebola Forum Communication and Prevention has declared their commitment to support affected countries and governments stop the spread of Ebola and control the outbreaks.
This is contained in a resolution reached by partners representing national, regional and global agencies, organisations and networks that converge in Dakar on Tuesday.
“We recognised as follows that the size and scope of the outbreak are unprecedented and are overwhelming the existing equipment, systems, procedures and capabilities in West Africa.”
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“That communities are fearful and worried that the health system has not been able to contain the disease rumours, myths, lack of trust and misinformation about Ebola are fuelling anxiety and confusion at all levels, hindering an effective response.”
“That some socio-cultural practices, health behaviours and believes, including burial practices can facilitate the spread of the disease.”
“That urban, rural and border areas are now infected, making it a regional and continental challenge for respective governments, health services and partners.”
“That regional trade, interconnectedness of families, communities and fluid population movements within and between affected countries is contributing to Ebola’s geographic spread.”
According to the resolution, the communication and social mobilisation is a key pillar of the WHO and other UN agencies and partners endorsed Ebola roadmap.
The resolution said that the African Union and ECOWAS had called upon policy makers, civil society organisations, African media and other stakeholders to work with governments on inclusive public health campaigns.
It stated that thousands of volunteer responders and health staff were playing a vital role at the frontline of social mobilisation and community engagement.
“The current outbreak has been declared as a public health emergency of international concern; we have a collective responsibility to mount a stronger and more effective response.”
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“Governments of affected countries are demanding that global agencies and organisations better coordinate their support for effective communication and social mobilisation.”
“Rising to the challenge requires immediate response and preventive measures that are massive, coordinated at country level with effective support at regional and international levels.”
The partners pledged urgent communication and social mobilisation action to help national and regional authorities stop Ebola outbreak at earliest affected countries and prevent further spread of the virus disease anywhere.
They also pledged to mitigate the effect of the epidemic, including broader social economic impacts, through coordinated information dissemination, targeted communications and advocacy act and effective social mobilisation.
“We will act upon the voice of the community by scaling up two way engagement and ensure social mobilisation remains at the top of all prevention and epidemic control plan.”
“Implement, monitor and follow up commitments and attaché frame works for action for collective accountability and coordination at all levels,” the resolved.