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Editorial

Ebola: Attention to western Liberia

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For a few days now, Monrovia and its environs seem to be experiencing a reduction in the movement and sirens of ambulance vehicles unlike previous days. There are even reports of empty beds at some of the Ebola Treatment Units, especially the ELWA center operated by the medical charity-Medicins Sans Frontieres. Even if the foregoing assertions are something to confirm, the conclusion may not even be that the war against the deadly Ebola disease is subsiding in Liberia.

Liberian health workers must only be hailed for continuously being at the forefront of the battle against Ebola until it is completely eradicated from the country. Even, through their efforts and professional diligence, if Liberia was making progress against the disease, very little is heard about other parts of the country, especially Western Liberia that borders neighboring Sierra Leone.

With news of the alarming rate of the Ebola virus in rural Sierra Leone again, the spread of the disease across the borders is something to seriously worry about. It is no secret that the movement of people along the porous border line is still constant on a daily basis, and the possibility of an outbreak in Western Liberia may just be very broad. Even though there may be an Ebola Treatment Unit at the Tubmanburg Government Hospital in Bomi County, the attention of the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, must now be drawn to the country’s western border region in the wake of news of the increase or rapid spread of the virus in neighboring Sierra Leone.

The Liberian Government and partners must begin to now move into Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount Counties, as well as the Vaunt Belt in Lofa County in preparedness for any ‘spill-over’. It is evidently clear that as the result of current wave of the spread of the disease across Sierra Leone, the British Government is urgently moving in troops and ambulance helicopters, while the European Union is re-enforcing its financial and material contributions for an all-out war against the deadly Ebola virus disease.

It is equally important and in the our interest that while this may be happening in neighboring Sierra Leone, the Liberian Government capitalizes on the gradual deployment of the four thousand American troops and presence of the World Health Organization and international medical charities to set up emergency health posts and holding centers in border towns such as Vahun in Lofa County, Kongba in Gbarpolu County, as well as Bo Waterside or Tienne in Grand Cape Mount County. With the alarming Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, authorities of the Health Ministry must not wait until the arrival of “Ebola” in Western Liberia before acting- now they must.

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