National and international publicity characterizing what may appear to be a gradual decline in the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease in Liberia may not have just done justice to the fight against the epidemic, but encouraged complacency among some Liberians.
As a result of such publicity, some, including those involved with political campaigns, especially in Monrovia and its environs, have already been disregarding the public health laws, as well as preventive measures authorized by the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health and partners. Political rallies are occasioning huge gathering of supporters and sympathizers of candidates, while hugging and handshaking has resumed; vehicles carrying supporters of candidates are over-loaded with the belief that “Ebola is finishing.”
These violations of the public health laws may not necessarily be occurring un-noticed by the National Elections Commission, Ministry of Health and Liberia National Police. Whether or not it is out of embarrassment or fear that actions are yet to be taken against these violators, it is yet to be established. All we say is that these violations are taking place, while those responsible to enforce the laws remain conspicuously silent.
And should these violations continue as they are under the eyes of those who should enforce the laws, the possibility of another serious Ebola outbreak is high. While we highlight the foregoing issues, the attention of the Government of Liberia and partners must again be drawn to the current severity of the Ebola outbreak in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Even though we may be aware that the Liberian health authorities are cognizant of such development, the issue of border control is very paramount.
Owing to the porous nature of our borders with neighbouring Sierra Leone, the strengthening of the borders, as well as the deployment of health and security personnel must be re-emphasized. The government, through the Health Ministry and partners must re-enforce whatever they have in place at our borders in Western Liberia, especially in Lofa, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount Counties. We foresee another serious Ebola outbreak, especially sometimes early next year, if all of the preventive and preparatory measures and mechanisms are not in place.