©InfoLiberia’s 14-year civil war, which ended in 2003, destroyed communities and their ability to meet their own health needs. People were left with poor living conditions, little access to education and jobs, and facing multiple diseases, some of which are preventable.
The Liberia Red Cross community-based health programme, which is supported by the British Red Cross, educates communities on the sources of disease and how to prevent them. As well as health and hygiene education the programme involves building wells and latrines, helping mothers care for their own health and their children’s during pregnancy and after, and training community members in first aid so that they can respond to accidents, injuries and illness before the long and difficult journey to a health centre.
Community involvement is key to the programme and the Red Cross works with each community for a minimum of three years to ensure people can work closely together, and begin meeting their own health and hygiene needs.
©InfoThe community is expected to contribute materials and labour to the programme. This includes moulding of bricks, and providing gravel and sand for building wells and latrines. The Red Cross provides the things they can’t afford such as cement, steel rods, nails and zinc roofs.
When the Red Cross starts working with a community, it finds out if there are any existing community structures to work through. Often there isn’t and community-based organisations (CBO) are set up to address the various development issues and needs of the community.
CBO members are trained in health and hygiene, first aid, and maintenance of water and sanitation facilities. When the Red Cross exits the community the CBO is able to take charge and sustain the work that has been done.
These are the stories of the people we are helping: