Alima Jamboria is a Community Health Worker and Chairperson of the Community.
I'm a Community Health Worker in Tengeh Town Community. We learnt how to wash hands properly because that was not actually taught in the first place. We knew that you can wash your hands but we never knew the specific way that you should wash your hands, the specific areas that you had to pay attention when washing your hands.
We make sure we tell even the kids ‘after playing you wash their hands with soap and water’, because most people you can say they wash their hands but they use only water. But in this case Oxfam has told us ‘you do not only wash your hands but you use water and soap to wash your hands’.
I have love for the community. They do listen to me and your relationship with the people is what is very, very important. Even if you met a pregnant woman you can tell her ‘No, you need to go to the hospital. When was the last time you went to the hospital to see your doctor. Please make sure you check because this is not just about you, it is about you and the baby. Okay.’ So, if you do that you are helping not only the mother you are also helping the unborn baby.
Everybody in Freetown knows about Ebola. But not everything has been said about Ebola, because now people are learning that, no, you do not do these traditional funerals. You do not just bury people. You think that ‘oh no, if I report this case they are going to put them in the plastic bags and just bury them just like as in the Ebola cases’. But with this time round they know that if you take care of these people you can bury them. You can show love to them. They can have a befitting burial.
Oxfam have provided handwashing stands in the area and have also trained Community Health Worker teams who teach the community about the signs and symptoms of Ebola, about how to prevent it and what to do if a family member becomes infected.
The community health workers also man the handwashing stands, and promote their messages there.