In the wake of the confirmation of the presence of the deadly Ebola virus in country, authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare have sounded a stern warning against body contacts, including handshake and kissing. The warning followed the confirmation of a number of Ebola cases in Liberia’s northern Lofa County in Voinjama, including the deaths of five persons.
While an assessment team of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and partners are currently in the region since last Friday, March 21, investigating the situation, tracing contacts, collecting blood samples and sensitizing local health authorities on the disease, awareness/sensitization among the entire population, especially those at the borders with neighboring Guinean Sierra Leone must be very vigorous and unending to prevent the spread of the disease.
By now, we had even thought that Liberia’s borders with Guinea and Sierra Leone from Yekepa in the mountains of northeastern Liberia’s Nimba County to Bo Waterside in Grand Cape Mount County would have been closed as part of the preventative measures to stop the spread of the deadly disease. Liberians must understand that the current situation does not only rest with the government alone, but all of us.
While the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and partners, may be exerting all of the necessary efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus, it is a very necessary condition for a holistic move in this battle. This means, as citizens and residents of Liberia, our role is to ensure adherence to the warning issued on Monday by authorities of the Health against body contacts, including handshake and avoid venturing into areas the virus is present.
Though Liberians are very appreciated of the initial proactive move by the government and partners even before the unfortunate situation became public information, the administration must continue to engage other international partners for funds and logistics as a way of capacitating the fight against the spread of this deadly disease.
At the borders with Guinea and Sierra Leone, the need for citizens’ cooperation with health workers and the authorities of the ministry must be emphasized. Without these concerted efforts, the battle against Ebola is bound to undergo difficulty. As we commend the government for its immediate engagements with the situation, the momentum so far against the spread of the disease must even go beyond its current status.