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UPDATE: Preventing the Spread of Ebola in Nigeria

Women for Women International – Nigeria Country Director Ngozi Eze welcomed the announcement from the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring Nigeria to be free of Ebola. Women for Women International has been working to serve the most marginalized women in Nigeria since 2000, and since then more than 52,000 women have participated in a yearlong program that supports economic, social, and political empowerment and self-sufficiency.

Responding to the announcement from the coordinated prevention efforts, Eze shifted attention to the role of the grassroots in sharing information.

“The importance of working together is the powerful lesson for us. When the government engages stakeholders and coordinates information sharing with partners including the media and civic leaders, we are more effective. Supporting regional and community stakeholders to participate in disease prevention is critical, and organizations like WFWI –Nigeria were able to contribute by enlisting the most marginalized and isolated women to be part of the solution – this is empowering. With access to accurate resources we are able to both educate and disseminate prevention information.”

From the outset of the epidemic, Women for Women International – Nigeria began receiving regular updates, messages and guidance about public health efforts from the Federal and State Ministries of Health and the Ministry of Information in Nigeria.

“The simple and consistent messages about prevention, transmission, and management continue to be translated into many local languages for leaders to use and share. By reinforcing action-oriented messages we were can work together to prevent the dangerous effects of misinformation, panic and stigmatization.”

Out of the 19 people that tested positive for Ebola in Nigeria, seven died and the others have since recovered. Women for Women International’s team in Nigeria will continue its work to raise awareness and improve education about threats to public health. They will share this information among poor women in rural areas who are often the most vulnerable and less likely to receive timely and potentially life-saving information. In addition to reaching women, 1,500 men enrolled in Women for Women International – Nigeria's Men's Engagement Program will also receive guidance from trainers.

Read Ngozi's first response to the first case of Ebola detected in Nigeria.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Amber Khan at amber.khan@womenforwomen.org.