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‘DIFFICULT BUT USEFUL’ – BASSA STUDENTS ON EBOLA PROTOCOLS

written by: Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, Journalist

Since schools reopened in the country following several months of closure due the scourge of the Ebola virus, many students in Grand Bassa County say it is pretty difficult to abide by the Ebola preventive protocols at school. But they admitted that the protocols are indeed useful to ensure the Ebola Virus disease is prevented from spreading.

At the only public senior high school in Grand Bassa’s District Three, students agree that following the protocols will prevent the disease from spreading while some of them complain that the protocol is creating social tension among them. “We are following all the rules that the school wants us to follow to prevent Ebola,” said student Elijah Kiamue of the 12 grade. “It is a condition we find ourselves so we must do what must be done,” he added. Kiamu and other students said some school mates are often devastated when they are ignored by class mates when they attempt shaking hands or touching them. “Some of our class mates say we are acting selfish but that’s what we must do to stop the virus,” said a female student Lydia Kpargbo also of the 12 grade.

The Ebola virus has already forced the suspension and altercation of several cultural practices in the three countries most affected, causing tension between government and communities. The suspension of some cultural practices including burial has help the intervention against the EVD. And with more measures put in place including school protocols, the drive to achieve zero case in Liberia is a pretty good prospect.

For students on the LAC plantation, the protocol is being adhere to although it has seriously affected their social interaction with their mates. “When it comes to the issue of shaking hands it is difficult to avoid it,” said Samuel Davis of the St. Joseph High School. “We are still trying to abide by the rules, because we talk to our friends who are finding it hard to stick to it.” Schools authorities in the district are also confident that with time the students’ attitude will gradually change and they all will understand the significance of the protocols in the fight against the EVD.

Gorblee High school Vice Principal, Sam Whornee says the social impact of the protocol is minimum since students are still keeping relationship with one another. “It may have psychological impact on the students but let’s also know that these measure are allowing us adopt to some western cultures, which is good for preventing diseases like the EVD,” he said. The Vice Principal says he’s sure that the students will get adjust since they have already started coping.

The Ministry of Education at the start of the 2014/2015 school year instituted some new protocols at schools in the country to limit contact at school especially after it has been scientifically proven that the EVD is contracted by toucing the body fluid of an infected person. But though the social and cultural impact of these protocols are glaring, students and school administrators appear committed to upholding the rules as a substantial means of curbing the spread of the virus in a country that has been the hardest hit in the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak in the human history.

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