Via ReliefWeb, a report from the government of Liberia and UN Women: Ebola Toll on Women Appalling - Liberia. Click through to download the PDF. The summary:
Urgent Action Needed to Address Needs of Women in the Response to Ebola
The Ministry of Gender and Development (MoGD) in Partnership with United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) recognizes with grave concern, the increasing adverse impact of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease on the health of women and girls in Liberia including their livelihood, security and social wellbeing.
Given the vulnerability of women, both the MoGD and UN Women calls for a gender sensitive, concerted and coordinated response to the Ebola situation from all involved.
MoGD and UN Women remind all stakeholders in the fight against the Ebola Virus to give the highest priority in their response to the plight of women who are bearing some of the greatest devastation of the disease.
As Ebola cases continue to rise, women remain disproportionately affected. According to data from Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, women account for between 55 to 60 percent of Ebola related deaths in Liberia, with the rate of infection of women being a lot higher than men. This is mainly attributed to the role of women as caregivers, nurses and cross-border traders.
The MoGD and UN Women urge national and multi-national bodies, civil society and grassroots institutions to tailor their actions to the needs of: women in situations where they cannot go to the market to sell and cater for their families; women in the medical field including nurses, cleaners and laundry workers in hospitals and isolation centers, where there is high risk of contracting the virus.
The impact on women has severe economic implications. In rural areas, where the majority of smallholder farmers are women, food production is almost certain to drop, while on the other hand the closure of borders is affecting cross-border traders, the majority of whom are women.
The Ministry of Gender and Development with support from UN Women is scaling up its efforts on prevention, awareness raising and contact tracing, through our women networks, including female traditional leaders, rural women structures, women in cross-border trade, women farmers and ordinary business women at the various markets under the Liberia Marketing Association in Monrovia and across the country.
UN Women is also extending its support to civil society organizations, women's advocacy groups, and implementing partners on various Ebola prevention interventions and related supplies for communities and various isolation centers in Liberia.
MoGD and UN Women believe that by increasing the chances of survival of women and by strengthening their economic viability, as well as working through these already established women networks at all levels, will be building a major wall of defense for families in the fight against the Ebola Virus.