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Gov’t Welcomes Predictive Tool of CDC

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The Government of Liberia has welcomed the predictive tool released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States or CDC.  According to an Information release, instrument is intended to help measure the government’s progress in the ongoing fight against the Ebola epidemic.

The release said the Ebola Response Model predicts what could happen if the administration did nothing, and importantly, how, overtime, it could measure positive changes in the state of the Ebola fight by taking good public health actions, such as those described in the National Ebola Response Plan of the Government.

Quoting the CDC publication, the Information Ministry release added that the published estimates of the CDC were based on data only up to August 28, and assumes that both the government and international community would do nothing more than what was done up to that date.

The release quoted Information Minister Lewis Brown as disclosing that understanding the range between the potential worst outcome and  best outcome gives the government and its partners more information about the steps the government needed to take to win the fight in the shortest possible time.

“The information in this report will help the government and its partners not only in terms of focusing on the ongoing fight, but also in making the case internationally for greater and more urgent support to fight the worst Ebola epidemic in history. We intend to use this tool of the CDC to continuously measure our collective efforts and progress,” Minister Brown is quoted as saying.

Pointing to the fact that the estimates of the CDC were based on data collected more than three weeks ago, the Minister reminded that steps have already been taken since the end of August not to realize the worst-case predicted outcomes in the report.

He named such steps to include the addition of beds in Ebola Treatment Units at ELWA II and the JFK since the end of August, the conversion of Redemption Hospital into a 105-bed Holding Center, as well as the newly-opened150-bed Unit at the Island Clinic which will positively affect the predicted estimates were these to be included in the report.

Other actions of the Government and partners, according to Minister Brown which will positively affect the current predictions when added include the fact that bodies are more rapidly removed than 2 weeks ago because of the increase and zonal locations of burial teams, as well as the training of hundreds of community health volunteers including teachers to help our people take steps to protect their health. According to the release, Minister Brown disclosed that trainings and mobilization of communities were ongoing and would continue across the country.

He said the Liberian Government was working with the CDC to add these and other important information about progress into the Ebola Response Model. “By entering those facts, we will be able to get a full picture, as well as update the estimate regularly so as to reflect the expected effect of public health actions taken by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and its partners in the ongoing fight. As soon as we add that information to the prediction tool, the updated projections will be shared,” Minister Brown is quoted as disclosing.

Meanwhile, the predictive model of the CDC revealed that people who are in Ebola Treatment Units or kept in their own areas, away from others and at home while new units are being built infect less than one person on the average. People who are not separated from others while they are sick, risk infecting about 2 other persons.

According to Minister Brown, this finding further confirms the urgent need to keep sick people away from those who are not sick, saying, “This continues to be one of the most important steps we can take to win this fight. If people have a sick person at home, they need to find a way to keep that person in their own place, away from others, so as to protect the rest of the family, and other people who may be living in the same house, until the health team arrives.”

The Information Minister reminded Liberians that ending the Ebola epidemic will take some time, revealing, however, that the Liberian Government and its partners were adding Ebola Treatment Units and taking all necessary measures including programs of community ownership to shorten the time.

Citing the CDC Report, he observed that the predictive model proves that once a Tipping Point was reached, cases would decline about as rapidly as they have increased noting that “gains below the tipping point can also significantly reduce cases.”

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