The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been regarded deadliest ever to date. The World Health Organization or WHO has even declared the current outbreak of the disease- a viral illness of which the initial symptoms can include a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat, as an international health emergency, owing to its high and growing fatalities of more than 2,461 deaths up to mid-September in the region. Of the 2,461 deaths in the region, Liberia has a total of 1, 424- a figure which concerns deaths in confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola, according to the latest update released midweek by the Liberian Ministry of health and Social Welfare.
Despite the figure released, the ministry, through the Government’s Incidence Management Committee, is saying that “things were gradually improving with what they do with ending the outbreak,” expressing confidence that the recent prediction by WHO could be disproved if such positive response continues. The WHO had declared that about 20,000 people may die of Ebola before things got better – a declaration which received sharp reactions from all levels of the government, even though it may have been made against the backdrop of the behavioral pattern of Liberians toward the deadly disease and initial approach to combating it,
While we do not, in any manner and form, intend to justify the prediction of “20,000 deaths before things got better” by the WHO, our own understanding was that if the issue of denial and other factors responsible for the rapid spread of the disease were not done away with, the death rate would reach thus far.
But with the news from the Government’s Incidence Management Committee headed by Assistant health Minister Tolbert Nyeswa that “approximately 300 infected patients have survived Ebola treatment in Liberia since the outbreak here from March to September; things were gradually improving with what they were doing in ending the outbreak. With a drastic reduction in the high rate of denial among Liberians as a result of the continuous awareness/sensitization by the Liberian media and others, we do agree with Minister Nteswa and the Health Ministry that things are gradually improving indeed.
It also suggests that with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s recent communication to President Barrack Obama of the United States not pretending that Liberia could make it on its own, but that the country could not make it on its own and needed the intervention of the United States and international community, ‘things may also be gradually improving in ending the outbreak- thanks to the President of Liberia for such move that has resulted to the recent announcement by President Obama for the deployment of three thousand U.S troops to Liberia with all of the anti-Ebola necessities for the battle against the disease.
It is no doubt that as the Americans move to join efforts already here in Liberia and the region, the International Monetary Fund or IMF, World Bank Group and other multilateral institutions and organizations, as well as philanthropists, among others, are also following suit against this “global insecurity” declared by President Obama, and things will actually improve in what all they all do in ending this outbreak.
Disapproving whatever ‘prediction” we think the World Health Organization may have made must no longer be an issue, but the measures we, as Liberians and a government, have now put in place, including the tremendous awareness/sensitization by us all that has drastically reduced, denial and immediate intervention of the U.S Government resulting from President Sirleaf’s letter to President Obama, to ensure the containment of the Ebola virus and more Liberians don’t die again. Whatever “prediction” made by the WHO may have also been only intended for us a people and government to redouble our efforts in the battle against Ebola- and that, we’ve done. And such efforts must continue to the demise of Ebola.