Traditional chiefs in Liberia have vowed to support ongoing cross border Ebola sensitization of Mano River Union countries being implemented by the Liberia Crusaders for Peace with sponsorship from the UNICEF.
The Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP) in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF ) Monday, March 2,2015 held a one day Stakeholders and Traditional leaders forum in support of Ebola prevention in bordering communities of Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Cape Mount Counties, respectively.
The chiefs in a joint statement from the three counties vowed to uphold value that comes out of the sensitization of citizens of bordering communities. Speaking on behalf of the three counties, Chief Musa Kamara of Lofa County, northern Liberia, welcomed the initiative by the Crusaders for Peace, describing it as wonderful.
Chief Musa said with the level of education being provided by the LCP to residents along the borders of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, it will help in the total eradication of the virus from the sub-region.
Chief Musa, who hails from one of the highly Ebola hit counties here, stressed the need to expel the virus totally.
He noted that the right message to fight against the virus came late, saying, “the virus killed most of our people before we got the right message to fight it.”
Lofa County was the epic center of the Ebola virus where the outbreak started. The county is in the north of Liberia and shares common borders with Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Speaking earlier, the County Health Officer of the host County of the forum, Bong County, Dr. Samson Arzoequoi, stated that the health team in Liberia at the start of the outbreak made mistake by not providing the right information to the public about Ebola.
Dr. Arzoequoi said if the right information were provided to the people as it is being done currently, the virus couldn’t have killed the number of people that are dead.
He however thanked the people of Bong County for following the guidelines given them by the county health team, and disclosed that Bong County has been free of Ebola since 21 December 2014.
For his part, the Chief Health officer of Nimba County, Dr. Collins Bowah, said Ebola threat still hangs over Liberia and Liberians shouldn’t be complacent.
He noted that there is still cross borders movement among the three highly hit countries, and added that the Ebola threat still hangs over a Guinean border town, Lorla, which is very close to Nimba, disclosing that reports from there speaks of 15 new confirmed cases.
He stressed the need for more social mobilization activities along the borders, including actions that will involve the participation of traditional and community leaders.
The Nimba Health Officer urged all Liberians to continue adhering to the anti-Ebola measures, saying, it will help in fighting the virus.
The Chief of Party at the Carter Center Liberia, Pewu Flomoku, pledged the Carter Center’s support to kick Ebola out of Liberia completely.
He said the Center will continue to work with traditional chiefs from across the country and organize training program for women to spread preventive messages about Ebola in all cross border counties of the three countries.
Speaking for the UNICEF at the program, Adolphus Scott said UNICEF remains committed to working with traditional leaders around the country by providing more support in eradicating Ebola from Liberia.
He praised the traditional leaders for joining the process in sensitizing their people on the danger of the killer disease and putting aside some of their traditional practices.
The one-day brought together lawmakers and local health officials from the four counties.