When we initially emphasized the urgent need for the Government of Liberia to close its borders with neighboring Guinea following news and evidence of the emergence of the deadly Ebola virus disease in Liberia’s northwest Lofa County, a few officials condemned such recommendation because they did not see the need.
Even when we raised the issue of the government decelerating a state of emergency because of the alarming rate at which the disease was spreading from Lofa to Monrovia and elsewhere in the country with huge death tolls, the response was delayed. But the wisdom of the President and a few others, a decision was made to shut down some of our major ports of entry and markets in the Grand Cape County, Lofa and Nimba Counties. On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, a state of emergency was announced to the nation by President Sirleaf in keeping with Article 86 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
While the President’s decision was better late than never, it’s important to commend the administration for such action in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate. This action, in addition to the border closure, establishment of a National Task Force headed by Madam President, as well as the government’s US$5m commitment to the Ebola battle, is directed toward containing and naturalizing the danger currently confronting the nation that has already resulted in a death toll of nearly 300 persons, with many cases under surveillance and treatment. All required of us all and others within our borders is total cooperation with institutions and individuals charged with the responsibility of spearheading the ‘war against Ebola’, including health workers and the security forces (especially the military that is already deployed at the various epicenters), and not the usual politics and bigotry.
It is truly understandable that our nation is currently at war, and owing to the danger such crisis poses to our national existence, we must all join efforts with the government in this battle by totally cooperating and exhibiting attitude befitting of responsible citizens. While the military and paramount observe the rules of engagements, acceptance of all the preventive measures provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, as well as those required under the state of emergency must be the hallmark of our national drive against the deadly Ebola virus. As we challenge us Liberians, the need for the provision of the necessary protective gears, incentives and special financial allowance for this 90-day state of emergency as a stimulus for nurses, doctors and other health workers cannot be over-emphasized- this is a message we will continue to preach to the government and partners.
As we also hail the President and Government of Liberia for all of the steps taken thus far, including the declaration of a state of emergency and its initial commitment of US$5m, regarded as a mark of seriousness, the World Bank Group, United States Government, through its agency for international development and African Development Bank must be commended for the life-saving contributions to the fight against Ebola. We can only be hopeful that the US$200m by the World Bank, US$7m and 50 public health specialists by the U.S Government and US$260,0000.00 by the AfDB would be of great assistance and motivation to fight against the deadly Ebola virus so that by the expiration of the 3-month duration of the state of emergency, Ebola would be history.