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No sign of Ebola

-After 8 suspects test negative

Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah says there is no sign of Ebola virus disease in the country, announcing that all eight Ebola alerts have been tested negative so far.

“As of today’s date, February 26, 2021, there were 8 alerts, and all of them have been tested negative. As we speak, there is no sign of Ebola virus disease here in Liberia as it has been speculated or reported,” the Health Minister says.

The update by the Health Minister could bring a sign of relief for Liberians, having suffered severe casualties when Ebola first hit Liberia from neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone at the end of 2013 and broke down the country’s weak health system throughout 2014.

Thousands of Liberians and other residents died as a result of the Ebola crisis back then, and recent alerts of its suspected reemergence from Guinea created fears again in a country still trying to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic that rocked the globe throughout last year.

In a special press conference held at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) on Capitol Hill over the weekend, Dr. Jallah emphasized that “No case of Ebola virus [is] in Liberia before somebody quotes me wrong, and I’m speaking at 12:pm.”

But says explains during the press conference that Covid-19 is still bothering the world, and at such people are still struggling to know whether the virus is still in Liberia.

According to her, Liberia recorded one new case of Covid – 19 as of Friday, 26 February, bringing the Covid – 19 cases up to a total of 2,010 confirmed cases since the outbreak in Liberia.

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Of that number, she details that 1,884 have recovered, but added that no patient is in any of the treatment units because they are being provided “home based care.”

Minister Jallah continues that those that are receiving home based care are not in any critical conditions, adding that healthcare authorities are ably prepared to handle their situation and carry on daily monitoring of the cases.

“We know a lot of people have their own reservation about not taking any form of vaccines, but we should all know that no country is safe until the world becomes safe,” Dr. Jallah cautions Liberians.

She says health authorities are continuing the testing exercise, thereby urging everyone traveling to making sure of taking their test prior to departing Liberia.

She also advises that people should read the guidelines of any country that they are traveling to help them avoid any embarrassing situation.

Dr. Jallah indicates that to end this pandemic, there is a need for countries to work together, saying those in Liberia must not refuse taking the Covid-19 vaccines which is expected in the country.

For his part, the National Program Manager on Immunization at the Ministry of Health, Mr. Adolphus T. Clarke says the Covid-19 vaccines are expected in Liberia this week, disclosing that there are category of people listed to take the vaccines.

Mr. Clarke explains that wearing of facemask and washing of hands will not be the magic bullet that will prevent people from Covid-19 or other diseases, but there is a need to institute multiple health measures that will help in curbing the disease.

He discloses that Liberia will receive the first Covid-19 vaccines in the tune of 384,000 doses that will be administered to people who are listed of taking the vaccines.

Mr. Clarke names healthcare workers, the elderly from sixty years and above and people who can’t socially and physically distance themselves from others based on their work they do, including people in the executive, the army, teachers and marketers, among others.

Clarke tells scores of reporters that health authorities are hopeful of administering the vaccines at least two weeks after their arrival here. He stresses the need for massive education about the vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Program Manager on Immunization says there are plans to conduct a nationwide polio campaign which is slated to begin from March 4-15. Mr. Clarke notes that during that time, health authorities are hoping to vaccinate 972,870 children between the ages zero to 59 months.

He narrates that in 1974, the World Health Organization (WHO) sent an official communication to all WHO member countries, asking that there should be a program called an expanded program on immunization.

But he says Liberia didn’t put that into effect until 1978, four years after they founded the Program on Immunization.

According to him, the goal of the program is to reduce the mobility and modality of vaccines – preventable disease in children from zero to 23 months.

He says when the program started in 1978, there were six diseases that were being looked at including Bacteria, Tuberculosis, Measles, Tetanus and Open Cough, among others.

Mr. Clarke says since 1978, Liberia has made significant progress on immunization, noting that in 2009 Liberia introduced a vaccine that prevents liver cancer. In 2016, he says, the country also introduced another vaccine to prevent polio and other sicknesses.

By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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