Health Workers, Children, and Families: Child Protection and Communication Challenges in the Context of the Ebola Virus Epidemic in Liberia
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During the Ebola virus epidemic in Liberia, both children infected by the virus and children who were exposed were placed in treatment and observation centers. As a result of these confinements, there were many challenges identified concerning the support and care for children in the context of epidemics. The more important ones were: how to maintain effective family links, contact with the extended family, and how to communicate with children in this particular socio-cultural and psychosocial context. The Ebola virus epidemic and the difficulties faced by caregivers for providing support for children demonstrated the lack of integration and implementation of methods for child protection within health systems, as well as the lack of training of health staff on culturally sensitive and effective techniques for communication and care for children. Communication with children was one of the more important uphill struggles for health staff and other practitioners. The necessity of understanding the sociocultural aspects of communication with children has been one of the most important lessons learned during the epidemic.
KeywordsChildren Interim care center Ebola treatment unit Health staff Communication Information Child protection Family links UNICEF Family separation Health system Coordination
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