Environmental Rescue Initiative Empowers Trained Traditional Midwives in Harrisburg Township to Ensure COVID-19 Vaccine Equity in Rural Communities
Harrisburg Township – As part of efforts to ensure equity in the rollup of the COVID-19 vaccine, about 60 Trained Traditional Midwives in Harrisburg Township have been trained by the Environmental Rescue Initiative to provide the much-needed information about the COVID-19 Vaccine safety and to ensure vaccine equity in rural communities.
The Environmental Rescue Initiative is an environmental group established by two Mount Coffee Hydro Plant employees. They took their pay to set up the initiative after they observed that plastic and other waste were on the increase in Harrisburg Township, the area that hosts the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant.
Speaking at the event, the founder of the Environmental Rescue Initiative Abraham L. B. Freeman said females in rural communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, considering that they are the caregivers but most of the COVID-19 awareness do not reach them.
“So, our community based organization thought it wise to work with Trained Traditional Midwives. These are people the community believes in and they are going to tell them that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, it is free and everyone should take it. And it should not be done against your will. That is what we came to give awareness about the safety of the vaccine,” Freeman said.
Also speaking, the District Health Officer of the Careysburg Township David S. George told the Trained Traditional Midwives about the benefit of taking the vaccine. He told them to go to their various communities and encourage the locals to take the vaccine.
When Ebola finished in this country it was the community people that finished it not the people who bought the money,” Mr. George said.
The District Health Officer of the Careysburg Township added: “Taking the vaccines doesn’t mean COVID will not catch you but if it caught you it will not die.”
Adding up, Danieletta Fefe Sleyon, Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy told the ladies about their rights and how to empower themselves by promoting vaccine equity in the rural area.
“If we talk about equity we are talking about everyone. Not only in the city, the people that are in the rural areas need the vaccines,” she said.
Madam Sleyon told the ladies: “The same right Ma Sarah gets is the same right Ma Martha gets. Let the information be available, let the people be aware.”
“The people are giving the information to settle people and that’s wrong. The vaccine is for your safety. People are dying every day. Let the message go across. It is your right to know about the vaccine,” she added.
She cautions the rural women not to be forced or scared by anyone to take the vaccine.
“You have the right to health, your health is your human right,” she said.
Also, apart from COVID-19 awareness initiative, the group was able to give awareness about recycling plastic. From the plastic, the Environmental Rescue Initiative was able to produce rain coats, hand bags and other fashion items.
Freeman says, “During the rainy season, Trained Traditional Midwives bring pregnant women and children to the clinic.
When they are going, the rain usually beats them. So, we provided the raincoat and rain boots for them. Usually, delivery happens in the night and so they have to come out in the night so we also provided flashlights for them,” he said.
Freeman added: “All of our water, if not, in Monrovia is infected by waste. Though the support for waste is not coming,
my friend and I have decided to take a portion of our salary to make this community intervention.”
As the population increases in Harrisburg Township, the issue of waste management becomes a serious problem for the residents, Freeman said.
“We can see that the issue of waste management is growing in the Mount Coffee area. The plastics are making their way into the river, the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation and LEC are benefiting from the Mount Coffee. So, if we do not take care of this place, sooner or later, it is possible that the plastic bags could come in contact with the machines and the equipment we have in the powerhouse and there could be problems,” he said.
Freeman added: “And so, we have decided to work with communities to create awareness about plastic recycling as well as to produce items that the communities can use –like hand bags and other fashion items.”