It may now appear that Liberia’s ‘end of February target’ to have a zero case of Ebola may just not be possible due to the re-emergence of the disease in some parts of the country.
The Liberian Government had anticipated that by January-the end of February the nation would have had ‘zero case of Ebola’, but regrettably, response teams continue to chase Ebola contacts even at night.
Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount Counties, in recent times, had been the only two counties with cases of the deadly Ebola virus. Of late, the government reported that except Montserrado, the fourteen counties of Liberia had reported no cases of Ebola, and that they would soon be declared Ebola-free.
Unfortunately ahead of such declaration, reports of the re-emergence of the disease in Lofa and Margibi Counties seem not to be too favourable for the country’s success in its battle against the disease.
Liberian health authorities are reporting 18 contacts presently in Lofa just from a single case from Monrovia, while Margibi is faced with similar situation.
“We are praying that nobody will get sick and we will get confirmed case from Lofa; Lofa is threatened right now because of that case; Margibi is also threatened because somebody who left from Monrovia and went in a village in Margibi and died there. And that person was positive,” said Assistant health Minister Tolbert Nyenswa late last week.
After failing to meet the ‘Christmas’ bench mark in December 2014 for zero case, the possibility of meeting our January-end of February ‘zero case’ target may just be too far from reaching, considering the re-emergence of the Ebola virus. Perhaps, this means that the necessary mechanisms to keep up the fight against Ebola were not as vigorous to subdue the spread of the disease.
For us at the New Dawn Liberia, we were of the strongest conviction that the disease would still resurface, if we, as a government and people, did not vigorously pursue all of the necessary preventive measures prescribed by the Ministry of Health and partners.
In our previous positions on battle against Ebola in the wake of what may have appeared to be a ‘downward trend of the spread of the disease, we continuously emphasized the need for the government, through the Health Ministry, to man the western borders of the country, amid the unfavourable Ebola situation in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The fact that we may not have put ourselves on top of things against any threat of the spread of Ebola from Sierra Leone, Grand cape Mount became a target of the disease as it happened; while the attention of the health Ministry authorities and partners were drawn to cape Mount, there was a re-emergence of the disease in the St. Paul Bridge Community in Montserrado; and just late last week, it was officially announced by the Health Ministry that the disease had resurfaced in Lofa and Margibi Counties.
If and only if we, as a government and people minimize the anxiety in our pronouncements regarding our success against the disease and continuously increase the necessary strategies such as we already have, stability in the reduction of the disease would manifest itself in the complete eradication of Ebola by the time the next rainy season in Liberia is over.
While we do wholeheartedly appreciate all of the efforts the President of Liberia, Health Ministry, health workers Incident Management System and partners, there need to continuous the awareness campaign against Ebola as if we were in August and September 2014 cannot be over-emphasized.
There must be “less public pronouncements and more wore work in the field, especially as it relates to the vigorous community-based approach to battling the disease. Such community-based approach must again ensure the execution of the necessary preventive measures- constant hand washing, as well as avoiding hugging and hand-shaking, among others.