President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has reminded Liberians that attitude and behavioral change are cardinal to breaking the transmission chain and ending the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease in the Country.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement at the launch of the Youth Action International Coalition against Ebola in Monrovia recently.
She told the young people that attitude, behavior, as well as cultural and traditional values remain major challenges to efforts aimed at eradicating the virus from Liberia, and called on members of the coalition to go all out to communities and neighborhoods across the country with simplified messages of sensitization and awareness that will help change people’s behavior towards the virus.
The President said Government and international partners can build Ebola Treatment Units across the country, establish testing centers, bring in all the medication and personal protective equipment, but if Liberians don’t change their behavior, the virus will continue to spread. “We must follow the preventive instructions from health authorities to save ourselves and our country,” the Liberian leader emphasized.
She admitted that the start of the fight against the Ebola virus disease was rocky and difficult due to the strange nature of the virus, limited capacity, and the lack of initial tools for healthcare workers, who are the front liners in the fight, but pointed out that the fight is now well on course.
President Sirleaf pointed out that the government is giving and will continue to give the deserved attention to ensure that the virus is eradicated from Liberia. She lauded the efforts of heroes such as Montserrado District No. 13 Representative Saah Joseph, Dr. Jerry Brown and his team of the ELWA-2 Ebola Treatment Center, as well as all healthcare workers involved in the fight for their sacrificial services to the nation.
President Sirleaf stressed that the country’s death rate has reflected high numbers because people who died from other illnesses due to the initial impact on the regular healthcare system have been recorded as victims of Ebola, but assured that efforts are being made to improve the situation.
The Liberian leader thanked the Youth Action International Executive Director Dr. Kimmie Weeks and the young people for the initiative and promised that with all hands on deck, Ebola will soon be history in Liberia. She rejected projections from international organizations that over one million persons across West Africa will die by January, adding that steps are being taken to reverse these projections.
Speaking earlier, Montserrado County Representatives Acarous Gray and Saah Joseph, Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL) head Patricia Kamara and representatives of the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) and the U. S. Embassy in Monrovia thanked the coalition of young people for the initiative and hoped that the virus will soon be history in Liberia. They committed to standing with the government and the young people to eradicate the virus from here.
For his part, Youth Action International Executive Director Dr. Kimmie Weeks, pointed out that the endeavor was not a Youth Action International Initiative, but various youth organizations coming together under the guidance of his organization.
He pointed out that all member organizations of the coalition, totaling more than with over 6,000 youths are already working on Ebola-related programs in various communities around the country. The goal, he indicated, is for every person to know how to prevent themselves from the Ebola virus disease and thereby break the chain of transmission.
Dr. Weeks also said young people are most times efficient, but often get limited or no support. “The international community and the government must ensure the empowerment of youth-based organizations that are committed to playing critical roles in the fight against the further spread and eradication of the virus,” Dr. Weeks urged.
He admitted that the Ebola battle is a fight for life and survival and that all must be done the end the devastation of the country from the disease.