Montserrado County Rep. SaahJoseph, says the military will not be deployed at quarantined homes to contain the latest Ebola outbreak in Liberia, boasting of more than 5,000 former Ebola Treatment Unit or ETU workers as well as his own “First Responders” team.
During the worst-ever Ebola outbreak in 2014 that killed thousands of Liberians, the government here deployed military troops and armed police in Monrovia and surroundings besides the U.S. troops that worked here along with the Centers for Disease Control or CDC.
Following Health Ministry authorities’ weekend report, confirming three new Ebola cases including a ten year-old boy, who reportedly died Tuesday, Rep. Joseph told the State broadcaster ELBC’s morning show that Ebola can never hit Liberia like before, assuring his audience that there’s no reason to fear.
But judging from his field supervisors’ report, Rep. Joseph claims that members of a quarantined family in Duport Road were allegedly seen walking around and interacting.
“If we get a confirmed case from a family member [and] that family member is at the holding center or keeping center, the rest of the family members that interacted with that person that is confirmed … need to be quarantined,” he stressed.
He wondered how the quarantine process looks like, if they will “just be sitting there” and everybody is walking around. He has however urged the public to follow health authorities’ instruction regarding hand-washing and carrying sick people to health centers on time to avoid the risk of being infected.
Though the lawmaker admits that Ebola cases will always erupt here as long as Liberia has had Ebola case before, he remains confident that with the level of training the Ministry of Health and community residents have received, the virus cannot be like before.
“I can assure you that Ebola can never be like before … the nurses already know what to do; doctors know what to do. In fact [if] you visit most of those hospitals and clinics, they have triage where if there is any case or suspected case, they know what to [do] to cure you immediately,” he said.
As for his First Responders Team, Representative Joseph said the team’s ambulances have already been mobilized in readiness for rapid response both to Ebola and other cases.
Recognizing that most private clinics here do not have ambulances, he also promised to work along with them to make sure cases are quickly referred to big hospitals even if they are not Ebola.
With support from partners, the Liberian lawmaker led an effective response team during the peak of Ebola in 2014, transporting sick persons, including pregnant women and children to various hospitals for treatment and collecting dead bodies for burial.
After the virus subsided here, he crossed over to neighboring Sierra Leone and deployed his First Responders Team, which provided assistance to that sisterly country.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne