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HC3 and Community Complete Health Advocacy Meeting in Lofa County

Lofa County – Before and after the Ebola crisis there have been limited trust, compassion and partnership between community and health workers in Lofa County.

And to further improve the relationship, the health communication capacity collaborative (HC3) has completed six (6) days healthy life advocacy meeting in the six districts of Lofa County.

The meeting brought together more than sixty (60) health workers and over 100 community dwellers including town, clan, and paramount chiefs and district commissioners from each of the district headquarters.

Explaining the importance of the meeting, HC3 deputy Country Director, Marietta Moore Yekee said it is vital to bring together health workers and community members to discuss the reasons and obstacles.

“The reasons why we are here is to discuss together how we can break the gap that have existed long time before and after the Ebola crisis. This problem has made health workers can’t trust you the community people and you the community people not trusting the health workers. It is good for us to trust one another so that we help to achieve this healthy life we are talking about today,” Madam Yekee said.

The meeting was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health which was represented by Lofa county health promotion focal person, Wiliam K. Sherman.

Sherman said it is the concern of the ministry to ensure that people get healthy life by working with it partners to achieve this goal. He also extends thanks and appreciation to HC3 for their tireless effort.

Chiefs from the six districts in Lofa County complained that information about health issues that the government and its partners want for the citizens to know should pass through the chiefs’ office. The paramount chief of Salayea district Matomor Saryon said chiefs should be involved with information sharing.

The first meeting was held in July 7, 2016, and the second meeting – which was well attended by community dwellers and health workers – is a follow to determine the progress made between the community and health workers.

The officer in charge at the Yeala clinic in Zorzor district – which is bordering Guinea, said HC3’s intervention has made some improvements in the behavior of community dwellers toward health workers in the town.

The Fula community in Lofa County was also represented at the meeting. Fulani people constitute 15% of Lofa County’s population.

Representing the Fulanis at the meeting, Jamboi Bah thanked HC3 for recognizing his community and promised their cooperation in the process.

“… We are going to tell them what I learn from this meeting.  We want the government to involve fula people in any health decision making” Bah said.

Many recommendations were made by community members and health workers, and Wolobah Johnson, OIC of Kpakamei town clinic a town in Voinjama district recommended that chiefs should always visit the health facility to know what is going on.

Chief Galakpai of Vezela town in Voinjama district called on health workers to carry out frequent awareness at the level of the clinics.

“I want our nurses do their own awareness in the clinics so that the people that going there for treatment will know what to do,” Chief Galakpai said.

The health communication capacity collaborative (HC3) social behavior change program officer, Teah Doegmah encouraged community members to work in collaboration with the media, health workers and local authority to promote healthy life.

Report By: Franklin Flomo

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