Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Aiming Global Goals

Washing Hands During the Ebola Crisis


On 30th of March 2014, Liberia confirmed its first two cases of Ebola virus disease in the country. By the 23rd of April thirty-four cases and six deaths from Ebola in Liberia were recorded.  By 17th of June sixteen people had succumbed to the disease in the country. The initial cases were thought to be malaria, an extremely common disease in Liberia, and thus leading to doctors being infected with the virus. During the outbreak of this virus, Liberians were dedicated to washing their hands usually to prevent the disease, and now we at LEARN Liberia have created a forum to educate young people on the importance of hand washing on Global Hand Washing Day with the theme: "OUR HANDS, OUR FUTURE". This event was a one off event which was held in Monrovia at the United State Embassy. As you may know every year October 15th is Global Hand Washing Day, a day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases. We celebrated this day with powerful presenters
who were able to educate young people on issues relating to hand washing and hygiene. This is the first event of its kind to be held at the United States Embassy.

Dr. Mohammed K.T Wolli
Our first presenter at our forum was Dr. Mahammed K.T Wollie, BSc degree in Medicine and Surgery from the International University of African in Khartourm, Sudan. Surgical attachment at the Soba Teaching Hospital in Khartourm, Sudan. His presentation was basic on “HYGIENE” providing young people a gift of education with a 15mins insightful talk on how we can help save ourselves from simple diseases that can be prevented. He mentioned three common diseases that affect Liberians on a regular basis when they’re not washing their hands properly: Diarrhea, Eye Infection, and Respiratory Infections. “Diarrhea” for which washing hands lowers the risk of having infections, a benefit particularly for children… It is the leading disease that children under five die from throughout the world. He also mentioned the spread of bacterial infections, such as trachoma, which can also be reduced through regular hand washing. Washing hands also lowers the likelihood of contracting conjunctivitis which we called eyepolio in Liberia. He also stated that pathogens that cause respiratory complications are commonly found on surfaces and hands.

Dr. Richard J. Doe
Our next guest at the forum was Dr. Richard J. Doe, he earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree in Biology from the Mother Patern Collage of Health Sciences in 2011 and he is currently a candidate for a degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) come December (2017) from the A.M. Dogliotti Collage of Medicine. He is also currently pursuing a Master of Public Health Degree (MPH) from the Cuttington University Graduate School. He has also served as a guest speaker, motivational speaker and a Health Lecturer at various programs organized by the Progressive Youth Ministry Inc. 
Dr. Doe gave a 15mins presentation on the methods of hand washing: he educated young people at the forum by demonstrating the method of how participants could wash their hands properly using soap and water or sanitizer. He encouraged participants to use sanitizer as a fast means of keeping your hands clean usually when there is not much dirt and wash your hands with soap and water with dirty hands. His idea at the forum was very simple “wash or sanitize your hands to lower the RISK of the spread or contraction of Common Cold, Flu, Cholera, Diarrhea, Meningitis, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and Dysentery.” An ideology that was well noted.

Chalaty A. Young
Our third guest was great “Chalaty A. Young” President of the Biological Sciences Students Association (BIOSSA) of the University of Liberia, and Founder of the National Scholastic Club of Liberia (NASCOL) and Current President President of Liberia Association of Volunteers (LAV). This topic was on the universal solvent (Water H2O), a polar compound he described. A compound he described as the most studied chemical compound and that covers over 71% of the Earth’s surface. To that, he also mentioned at the forum that on Earth, 96.5% of the planet’s surface water is found in the seas and oceans, 1.7% in groundwater, 1.7% in glaciers and the ice caps of the Antarctica and Greenland, a fraction in other large water bodies, 0.001% in the air as vapor.  It was clear not many high school students at the forum knew that, they were all able to get the insight behind water in our universe. The most interesting thing at the event was only 2.5% of the water is freshwater, of which we have 98.8% is in ice (excepting ice in clouds) and groundwater. 

If the total quantity of water on Earth is equivalent to just one gallon, the quantity that would be safe for human consumption will be just a spoon full!”

Mr. Jonathan G. Enders
Our last speaker for the day was Mr. Jonathan G. Enders of the Nation Public Health Institute of Liberia. An institute established after the Ebola crisis to control and manage outbreak of diseases in Liberia. Mr. Enders was excited to talk to students and young people at the global hand washing day forum at the United States Embassy in Monrovia about the work the Nation Public Health Institute of Liberia and how they are helping to control and manage Health issues. He also mentioned that LEARN Liberia should work hard in creating health events that will provide sanitizer to communities and people in the rural area. His words were inspiring to hear!