The Liberian Health Ministry, on Tuesday, reported the death late Monday of one of the three patients from the current Ebola outbreak in Monrovia.
News of the death of the 10-year boy of the Duport Road Community in the City of Paynesville, Montserrado County -one of the three confirmed cases, is already characterized by fears and emotions among the Liberian population, even though Health Ministry officials have expressed high level preparedness to deal with any outbreak.
At the moment more than 150 people suspected to have had possible contacts with the three Ebola positive patients are being monitored.
After claiming the lives of about 4,769 people from March 2014 to May2015, the virus’ return for the fourth time in Liberia last Thursday, 19 November 2015 remains a serious concern among the population, considering the souring relations between health workers and Government of Liberia over hazard and other benefits.
Health Ministry officials have disclosed in Monrovia Tuesday that up to late Monday, the number of confirmed cases stood at three to include the (deceased) 10-year old boy – the index case, his father and brother who have all been at an Ebola Treatment Unit or ETU.
“The healthcare workers—nurses, nurse-aids and hygienists—had had contact with the boy who is the index case of this fourth wave of Ebola in the country. They are about 25 healthcare workers we are dealing with,” Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer Francis Kateh told a news conference in Monrovia, further noting that out of the 25, 10 of the health workers were high-risk under precautionary observation.
Despite the confidence reposed in the country as an Ebola-free nation in September, the continuous presence of the disease in neighbouring Guinea may have been enough for any suspicion of the recurrence of the virus in Liberia. This is why authorities of the Ministry of Health and partners, collaborating with the joint security at all border posts with Guinea and Sierra Leone, should have ensure continuous effective and efficient border control and anti-Ebola preventive practices in inter-country movements of people.
With the current ‘Duport Road Outbreak’, Liberia’s preparedness to contain the situation cannot be doubted – the experience gained by health and medical practitioners to decisively arrest the situation is a trust harbored by many Liberians.
During the first major outbreak several preventive measures were instituted by the Government of Liberia, through the Health Ministry, to combat the Ebola virus disease to include constant hand-washing from anti-Ebola buckets, preventing hugging and hand-shaking, as well as reduction in the number of passengers by commercial vehicles, among others.
A return to these anti-Ebola preventive measures, as well as a massive awareness campaign, using the community-based approach and the various radio stations just as was done at the peak of the first major outbreak, is something that must be immediately employed by the government.
In consonance with our country’s current capacity and preparedness, these measures would quickly arrest/contain what is being experienced as another Ebola outbreak in Liberia.