The Office of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have signed an agreement for a US$1.495 million research grant.
According to the agreement, the grant will be used to underwrite the cost of researching and publishing a study on challenges and hindrances of community reintegration of survivors of deadly diseases.
According to a release issued by the VP’s Office, the perception study and the accompanying intervention will be conducted to discover how people perceive Ebola, what factors might influence their perceptions, and what types of care and support survivors need to enhance their reintegration into society.
The project will be implemented by the Center for Liberia’s Future headed by Dr. Emmanuel Dolo and will run for a period of 18 months.
The proposed research will cover all 15 counties and include some villages, towns as well as rural and urban cities.
The study population will include at least 1,000 adults residing in villages, towns, and cities across Liberia.
A multistage sampling technique will be used, according to the release.
During the first stage, one urban county will be selected along with two large size rural counties and one medium size rural county.
To ensure transparency and proper accountability, Vice President Boakai has requested the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to serve as Fiduciary Agent of the grant, while the VP’s office will monitor the implementation of the project.
The release said the Vice President has also requested the Ministry of Health to review the final report of the research prior to submission to the Gates Foundation.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning has identified the Project Financial Management Unit (PFMU) as the organ that will oversee this project.
It is expected that upon completion of the project, the report will be used to help improve preventive health communication and national data collection and reporting on the outbreak of infectious diseases.
Additionally, it will accelerate behavioral change in emergency response so that communities can properly manage and achieve early detection, response, containment, surveillance, data collection and better communication with the larger public.
Thousands of lives are expected to be impacted by the study, as they will understand the gravity of the threat that deadly diseases pose, leading to prevention and suppression of future outbreaks.
The investment will try to address the wide knowledge gap, derive lessons from the study that can contribute to prevention and possible response and at the same time facilitate reintegration support for survivors.