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Editorial

Include direct community engagements in Ebola fight

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It may appear boring to some whenever we highlight the issue of the deadly Ebola virus disease currently spreading in Liberia. Officially, the deadly disease has now hit seven of the country 15 political sub-divisions, with reports of increasing number of cases. Authorities at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare have reported scores of Ebola related deaths, affecting both patients and nurses since the deadly virus broke out for the second time in Liberia, with an update of 105, with 48 confirmed deaths from May 29 to July 16, 2014.

To date, authorities have reported 179 cases throughout the country- 67 of them confirmed. Four additional counties have been re-categorized as response counties, totaling seven the number of counties affected by the Ebola Virus to include Lofa, Montserrado and Margibi as the three initially counties affected areas.

As we commend and urge the Government of Liberia, through the Health Ministry and  international partners to continue to exerts all efforts toward battling this deadly disease, it is also incumbent on us all-wherever we find ourselves across Liberia, to join these national efforts by adhering all of the necessary preventive measures against the spread of the disease, including avoiding touching dead bodies, body fluids, materials of infected Ebola persons to include direct physical contacts like handshakes, kissing and contact with body fluids of infected or dead persons or animals, as well as consistently washing hands with soap and water.

As the government and partners are confronted with such a huge task, it is no secret that persistent denials of the presence of the disease by some Liberians continue to characterize and impede efforts against the spread of the disease. It is no doubt that this may be responsible for the alarming rate at which the virus is spreading so much so that seven counties are now infected.

In as much as the Health Ministry and partners may be doing extreme well to fight the Ebola disease as evidence by the vigorous awareness/sensitization in the wake of the denial, direct community engagements/contacts as a way of further supplementing the awareness/sensitization campaign could be another means by which the minds of the “doubting Thomases” can be disabused about the presence of Ebola in the country. Unless the Health Ministry and partners ensure that this strategy is included, these Liberians will continue to deny the presence of Ebola not only to their own detriment, but the nation.

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