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Editorial

Ebola: The battle must be unending

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Amid reports of the declining rate of the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease in Liberia, the battle against the disease must be unending. Even though health authorities and medical charities working in the country may be reporting reduction in the number of cases and deaths in various communities and Ebola Treatment Centers or ETU, while the mode of transmission appears to be declining, the crisis must still be treated as if it was just beginning. The Liberian Government, through the Ministry of Health and international charities working against Ebola in country must also exercise cautions in transmitting information about whatever decline noticed about the outbreak.

It is no secret that providing information to the public about any progress in the fight against the disease without cautions would result to complacency among Liberians in continuously ensuring adherence to and practicing the various preventive measures. Given the gradual decline in the spread of the disease as evidenced by reported reduction in the number of cases and deaths, coupled with what appears to be the minimum ambulance services in Monrovia and its environs, the community-based approach must now be intensified, while anti-Ebola measures and messages must continue among the population so as to avoid a third Ebola outbreak even though the issue of ignorance and denial would be out of the question should the country experience any future crisis as such.

The issue of exercising cautions in any public pronouncements about progress against Ebola at the moment is being emphasized because of the complacent nature of Liberians, i.e., many of them would either begin to abandon or minimize the various preventive measures, including hand-washing, hugging and touching. Liberian health authorities and partners must now do very less talking and exert more efforts, including contact-tracing as if the Ebola outbreak was just beginning.

Moreover, the government and partners must also place emphasis on Liberia’s borders with neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone to ensure that Ebola doesn’t spread over again. While the presence of a very strong and well-capacitated national and international health teams may be recognized in Liberia’s northwest Lofa County, contact-tracing must be paramount, especially when there may still be cross-border activities between Liberia and Guinea on one hand, and Liberia and Sierra Leone on the other.

Since Ebola may still be in the Forest Region of Guinea towards Liberia’s borders and in the east of Sierra Leone, Liberia’s northern and western border areas must be secured to avoid any future transmission from the other sides. Ebola must still be treated as if it is just emerging in Liberia. The battle must continue to be unending until victory is certain.

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