The World Health Organization or WHO yesterday, January 14, declared Liberia Ebola-free for the third time. Speaking at the declaration ceremony at the Ministry of Health in Monrovia, the WHO Country Representative Alex Gasasira commended the Government and people of Liberia, communities, health workers and partners for the successful response to the latest outbreak of Ebola.
He said the rapid end of the flare-up is a concrete demonstration of Liberia’s strengthened capacity to manage Ebola outbreaks. Gasasira further thanked the Liberian Government for developing a national policy to ensure that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) survivors have access to medical and psychosocial care.
According to him, such policy, which has been developed, will assist EVD survivors to live in good family and community life, reduce stigma and minimize the risk of the Ebola virus transmission. He expressed the WHO’s appreciation of the continued generous and most valuable technical, financial and logistical support that the international community has always provided to Liberia.
The announcement of Liberia as an Ebola-free country comes 42 days after the last Ebola case was contained without evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. A massive contact-tracing initiative launched by the Health Ministry identified 152 contacts – 25 of whom were healthcare personnel, all of whom were later declared Ebola-free after 21days of observation.
Liberia’s quest to become an Ebola-free nation was for the first time hampered on March 21, 2015 after a woman in the Cardwell community tested positive of the Ebola Virus following sexual intercourse with a male Ebola survivor.
The nation was declared Ebola-free for the second time on September 3, 2015 by the WHO after a successful fight to contain the virus which has since killed over 11,000 people in the three Mano River Union countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and 4,800 people in Liberia alone.
By Bridgett Milton