Via allAfrica.com, a report by Boakai Fofana: Liberia: People Power Is Changing Ebola Narrative. Excerpt:
Monrovia — The young campaigners thronging the street were wearing mismatched white T-shirts on which they had scribbled the words "Ebola awareness". As they passed a church, a melodious chorus coming from inside seemed to serenade them.
Waving fliers, some of the young people peeked in through the open church doors and sang along. Others snapped to the beat of the gospel song before they were quickly beckoned onward by an older boy at the group's front. He knew they were on a campaign to save lives.
Although not regimented, the group seemed to self-organize as they moved from house to house in their central Monrovia community. Their message to their neighbors: "Ebola is Real" - the locally-adopted theme in the fight against the disease.
As friends and family fall prey to sickness, more Liberians begin to realize how potentially devastating it is for the country, and they've taken it upon themselves to act.
"Nobody is giving us anything, oh, we just want to help," said Miatta, an enthusiastic young woman, explaining that this impromptu volunteer corps is not being paid.
As they approached my house, Miatta and her colleagues handed out fliers on Ebola prevention. Their message was already familiar to me, but I was still glad to receive it and greeted them in our Liberian parlance: "Y'all thanks oh!"
Despite their high spirits, the message the group brought wasn't jovial: "Ebola kills; wash your hands regularly; don't touch a sick or dead person; avoid bodily contact as much as possible."
In recent days, many neighborhoods been overtaken by such community-driven initiatives. Large banners have been stretched across streets and on office buildings and warning signs can be seen on street corners.
The awareness campaigns seem to be striking a chord, so much so that when a boy who is a known drunk fell to the floor in my area, the Ebola response team was called immediately. They arrived in a couple of hours, an improvement on the days-long response times reported earlier, when the rapid spread first overwhelmed an already struggling health system. The boy was brought back after testing negative, to cheers and jubilation from members of his large household.
On a local radio show, Representative Saa Joseph, a lawmaker hailed for being at the front lines of the Ebola fight, suggests optimistically that "the situation will soon get better." Pictures of him in hazmat suit ferrying sick people back and forth in his privately-owned ambulances are posted to many social media pages.
"A lot of things are now beginning to happen", he said, referring to the increase in awareness messages, the major expansion of the main isolation facility at the ELWA Hospital in the suburbs of Monrovia, and the building of other units in different parts of the country.
Apart from isolation and treatment centres, mobile laboratories that will help speed up testing are arriving, and large cargo planes are taxiing in with tons of emergency supplies, as the international community ramps up its support – all giving the local population a glimmer of hope.
Warning people against staying away from health facilities for fear of Ebola, Unicef's representative in Liberia, Sheldon Yetts, urges Liberians: "Cholera is here. Malaria is here and many common diseases. We don't want people dying… because they don't feel safe using use health services."
The re-opening of clinics and hospitals after the country secured additional supplies of disinfectants and protective garments for health providers is important to avoid the mounting deaths from common, treatable diseases, as well as from unattended childbirth.