EWMI awarded a Partner Legacy Support Program grant to Prison Fellowship Liberia to support its work preventing the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease to the prison population in Liberia. There is currently no cure to the virus and it has a fatality rate of up to 90%, with outbreaks usually occurring in areas with poor infection control and limited access to resources such as running water. Given the overpopulation and poor condition of Liberia’s prisons, the spread of the virus to the prison population would be devastating. Although the virus is believed to be able to survive for some days in liquid outside an infected organism, the use of chlorine disinfection, soaps and detergents can kill it. PFL is using funding to improve sanitation within the prison system by purchasing and delivering water, chlorine, detergents and hygienic materials such as gloves. PFL is also seeking to acquire equipment like non-contact thermometers that instantly and accurately takes a person's temperature without the need of any physical contact to screen incoming detainees for possible infection.
Fear of an outbreak within the prison population has also led the Ministry of Justice to initiate action to 'de-congest' prisons in the country. As the deadly Ebola virus death toll rises in Liberia, the government is now advising against arresting and imprisoning people for minor offenses, and has processed records of approximately 100 inmates to be released on bail to family members that can ensure that they can come to court whenever they are called.
The Ebola outbreak is not the first time PFL has stepped in to fight disease within the prison system. When an outbreak of Chicken Pox threatened the entire population of the Monrovia Central Prison, PFL helped to separate out the infected prisoners to another cell block and cleaned and sterilized the cells, septic tank, corridors and bathrooms. PF Liberia also purchased antibiotics, and other medicines, along with detergents and laundry soap for the entire population to prevent further outbreaks and educated inmates on good hygiene to further protect their health.
In addition to awarding the grant, EWMI is accepting donations on behalf of PFL to support their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. All tax deductible donations for this project will be sent directly to our partner in Liberia. EWMI does not retain any overhead on these donations. Prison Fellowship Liberia is a non-governmental organization supporting former prisoners, pre-trial detainees, and their families in Monrovia, Liberia. PFL also works directly with communities to reduce mob justice by training local mediators to resolve disputes. PFL's work and dedication has given renewed hope to thousands of Liberians by helping them break free of the cycle of crime and building safer communities.