When the World Health Organization or WHO recently announced that new cases of Ebola in Guinea revealed risk of ‘flare ups’, it was not surprise that the disease would have resurfaced in the region.
As a matter of emphasis, the WHO continued to stress that Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – previously struck by the deadly Ebola virus, were still at risk of the disease flare-ups, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors, warning that the governments of these countries must remain on high alert and ready to respond.
It is in view of the aforementioned that upon the resurgence of the virus in neighbouring Guinea, the Government of Liberia, through its Ministry of Health, immediately closed all borders with Guinea and effected the deployment of health workers as measures to prevent spill-over – an action described as proactively commendable.
Though not surprising as per the new cases in Guinea, Liberia was, again, hit by the virus when a woman believed to have travelled from Guinea recently came down with the virus and died at the Redemption Hospital in Monrovia after her transfer from a local clinic in the Jacob Town suburb of the municipality of Payneville, out Monrovia.
Two others associated with her are reported to have been infected by the virus, while Liberian health authorities and partner agencies are tracking down persons who may have one way or the other been in close contact with her.
“The first one that we all are now concerned about is that some men have the Ebola virus in their semen and then they can infect a sexual partner,” said Dr. William Schaffner – an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt Medical Center.
According to Schaffner, experts are hampered by how little knowledge and information there is about how the virus affects and remains in the body of survivors, thinking that the Ebola virus was still out there lurking in some men – ready to start over – perhaps as we are experiencing now in Guinea and Liberia.
We are of the strongest conviction that Liberian health authorities and international partners, including the Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccines in Liberia or PREVAIL have been doing extremely well against the resurgence of the virus with survivors as sources.
In furtherance of these efforts, the Government of Liberia, through the Health Ministry and partners, can step up the exercise and extend same to every loop and corner of the country as the concluding aspect of the ‘war against the deadly Ebola virus’.
While we challenge the government and partners towards this end, we as communities and people must see these efforts as a responsibility to help the government to help ourselves in the final battle against Ebola.
As per the renewed cases we have on hand, we trust our health authorities, especially with the experiences and approachable know-how against the spread of the disease. But as a people, it is incumbent upon us all to recommence the application of the necessary prevent measures – wherever we are across Liberia, as prescribed by health authorities.
We must not also forget about our community-based activities, including social mobilization and awareness/sensitization as a way of capacitating ourselves against the disease.