It's Young Girls and Women on the Front Lines of the Ebola Crisis

October 31, 2014 3:12 PM

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As in most emergencies, girls in Sierra Leone serve as primary care givers and providers in their families. They are at the frontline of the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak but invisible in the national response -- receiving little or no protection, recognition or support. Youth programs, government policy and interventions -- under normal circumstances -- typically bury or exclude girls. This stark neglect of girls was one of the first things I noticed during my recent trip to Sierra Leone to assess how the outbreak was affecting adolescent girls and what interventions were needed to support them during this period.

As President Bai Koroma told me in a private conversation, the country has been shocked and overwhelmed by this epidemic and has been playing catch up ever since. In essence they were being driven by the crisis, not responding with strategic foresight. On my first day, I was able to review the Repro...

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