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We can defeat Ebola

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The Leaders of Ebola-stricken Mano River Union basin, meeting at an emergency summit in the Guinean capital, Conakry to discuss the outbreak, last Friday agreed to a holistic resolution aimed at eradicating the disease in the region.

Amid warnings that the deadly epidemic is spiraling out of control, the Heads of State and head of the World Health Organization agreed to take important and extraordinary actions at the inter-country level to focus on cross-border regions that have more than 70 percent of the epidemic.  These areas will be isolated by police and military. The people in these areas being isolated will be provided with material support,” said Hadja Saran Darab, Secretary-General of the Mano River Union.

At last Friday’s Conakry meeting, the three Mano River Union leaders launched a $100 million (75 million euro) action plan that will see several hundred more medical staff deployed to battle the epidemic. Guinea, Liberia will also bolster efforts to prevent and detect suspected cases, urge better border surveillance, and reinforce the WHO’s sub-regional outbreak coordination center in Guinea.

While the disease may have been under-estimated initially, it is better late than never to commend the WHO and the three MRU Leaders for the holistic approach now being employed against the deadly Ebola Disease. With such regional coordination, the people of the Mano River Union basin and West Africa are re-assured that the war against Ebola will be won. This will only happen when action plan evolving at last Friday’s Conakry emergency summit is fully implemented to the latter. We can only hope that the US $100m ear-marked for the “Ebola war” would be used expeditiously, especially to capacitated health workers. In so doing, the issues of better incentives, attractive salaries and the necessary logistics must take precedence over meetings as far as the US$100m is concerned.

While we commend the Liberian Government for the recent practical steps taken toward the fight against the Ebola disease, including President Sirleaf’s announcement of an immediate US$5m commitment, border closure, as well as the suspension of all academic activities across the country, among others, it is also incumbent upon us Liberians to reciprocate by adhering to the necessary preventive measures against the virus as announced by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and discourage deniability. With such collectivism in this national drive, the war against Ebola would be won in the shortest period of time.

We also urge brothers and sisters of Guinea and Sierra Leone to exhibit similar behavior  in response to the actions of their respective governments as a way of helping themselves. And with the cooperation of us all with our respective leaders and governments in the Mano River Union basin hard hit by this deadly virus,  we can defeat Ebola, as well as further preventing it from spreading across West Africa.

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