AUGUST 26, 2014
With funds provided by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA), UNICEF on Monday 25th August trained 25 market women in Freetown on Ebola awareness and prevention.
The one-day training, which took place at the Hill Valley Hotel on Signal Hill, attracted participants from Garrison Street, Abacha Street, Rawdon Street, Guard Street, Kissy Road, Malamah Thomas Street and Fisher Street, among others.
Speaking at the training, SLFA president Madam Isha Johansen commended the market women for what she described as their “enthusiasm to learn more about the Ebola virus which is a burning issue in Sierra Leone and West Africa”. She explained that her decision to bring UNICEF and the market women was due to the fact that UNICEF deals primarily with women and children while the market women play a pivotal role in determining the health situation of the country.
“You sell foodstuff to all sorts of people irrespective of their status in society and therefore if you are aware of the fact that Ebola and several other diseases are real, you will also be able to sensitize your compatriots as well as your customers. I implore you to pass on what you will learn here today to those that are not fortunate to be here,” the FA president urged.
UNICEF Health Expert, Edmund Makiu, who was also the facilitator, explained that there is no known treatment for Ebola but admonished that early report of suspected cases to the hospital might save a patient’s life. He explained how Ebola can be transmitted and prevented, noting that runny nose, blood, saliva, fluids from dead body, tears, semen and virginal fluids, vomit, sweat, urine and faeces are the common ways that Ebola can be transmitted.
“The Ebola virus can enter into a person through a break in the skin, through the eyes, nose, mouth and also through sexual intercourse with an Ebola survivor within the first three months of his or her discharge from hospital,” Mr. Makiu said.
On the use of chlorine to wash hands, the UNICEF health expert said there is problem in making the mixture as putting too much chlorine in water might have another effect on those using it. He admonished market women to stick with water and soap, noting that all soap including soda soap and foam surf are good for the purpose.
“Wash your hands after treating the sick, touching the dead and after using the toilet; these are not new things to us as they are part of hygiene. It is only an emphasis as preventive measures against Ebola, cholera and other diseases,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, Madam Isata Deen Jalloh representing Kissy Road-Mountain Cut-Up Gun, expressed her sincere thanks and appreciation to the president of the SLFA and UNICEF for what she referred to as their “timely intervention” in the fight against the dreaded Ebola virus disease. She promised on behalf of her colleagues that they will communicate Ebola prevention messages to those who were not fortunate to be part of the training.
“What we have learnt here today has helped save so many lives because we deal with majority of the people in Sierra Leone through our daily trading. We hope that this bond between us in one hand and the SLFA/UNICEF on the other hand will continue as we are ever ready to work with you for the development of the country,” she assured.
Meanwhile, the SLFA and UNICEF are planning to do a similar training in the provinces.