To many outside of West Africa, thinking of Sierra Leone or Guinea might call to mind Ebola. But how many really understand Ebola? And beyond the scary images, what have we learned from the recent outbreak? I am a committed public health advocate, social mobilizer, and educator, and I have spent the past several years training and supervising field teams to beat back this virus in Sierra Leone. Let me share with you the experience from the field, the lessons about Ebola in particular, and about public health advocacy in general. I look forward to sharing and learning!
My work and study focus on public health through communication and behavior-change, and this has become particularly important during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. I am a supervisor and trainer for International Medical Corps, where I oversee field-based training in communities near Lunsar. Previously, I have worked as communication officer for World Health Organization, and earlier, as a health promotion officer for Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone, where I trained community health workers. My background includes participatory health policy, health communication, community engagement, and Ebola management and prevention. I am also a survivor of Ebola, having lost most of my family to the disease.
Public health is a manifestation of how communities function. If we can communicate better, pass right information, recognize and learn from bad practices, adapt and improve, then we can become stronger than the infectious diseases that have plagued our country.