Lessons from Ebola: Local customs matter

By Jacques Jimeno 16 July 2015

InterAction 2015 Humanitarian Award recipient George Woryonwon tells Devex how safe burials was the key to driving down Ebola cases in Liberia.

One of the reasons Ebola spread quickly was because families took care of the sick and buried their dead according to local customs. It was hard to tell people to turn away from tradition and have their dead cremated instead, George Woryonwon shared in a Devex video interview.

A program manager for Global Communities, Woryonwon led a team that assisted in the carrying out safe burials and disinfection across Liberia, a major contributing factor in driving down Ebola cases in the country. He received the InterAction 2015 Humanitarian Award for his team’s contributions.

“The first challenge has to do with a comprehensive decentralization of the health structure,” Woryonwon said, adding that the integration of cultural structures help make better health systems.

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About the author

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Jacques Jimeno

Jacques is a copy editor at Devex’s news production team. Previously, he worked with the Philippine Department of Tourism and the World Wide Fund for Nature. He is currently taking his master’s degree in communication from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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