Another Ebola Crisis Looms

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Flashback: health workers disposing an Ebola body

The Ministry of Health (MOH), National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the many health workers of the nation were recently acclaimed for the innovative strategies ahead of many other countries to prevent the Coronavirus pandemic from crippling the country, as was done by the Ebola Virus in 2014. However, it appears like the health sector is up for another uphill task, as the deadly Ebola Virus resurfaces in neighboring Guinea, specifically in a town with border proximity with Liberia, Gouècke, Nzerekore. This scaring news comes at a time when Liberians are still being haunted by COVID-19, with 1,956 cases, 84 deaths and 1,770 recovered; writes Sheikh O. Jalloh.

    On Saturday, February 13, 2021, the Guinean Health Minister, Remy Lamah, reported that four persons have died of Ebola in Guinea.

   According to reports, one of the victims was a nurse who fell ill in late January and was buried on February 1, 2021. However, among those who took part in the burial, eight persons showed symptoms of Ebola: diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding. Since then, three have died while four were in a hospital. All the Ebola-related deaths occurred in Nzerekore, a territory sharing borders with Liberia.

   On Sunday, it was reported by France24 that the World Health Organization has pledged emergency assistance to Guinea to fight against the deadly, viral disease.

   Meanwhile, President George Manneh Weah, in the wake of heeding to early warnings and providing safety for his citizens, has mandated the Ministry of Health and related stakeholders in the sector to heighten the country’s EPI-surveillance and preventative activities, in the wake of reports of the emergence of the deadly Ebola Virus in neighboring Guinea.

      “The President’s instruction is intended to ensure Liberia acts proactively to avoid any epidemic situation, the kind Liberia witnessed in 2014,” an Executive Mansion press release noted.

   President Weah also mandated the health authorities to immediately engage communities in towns and villages bordering Guinea and increase anti-Ebola measures.

   “While the health authorities are urged to increase their alert level, the general public is assured that there is no case of Ebola in Liberia, and that the government is undertaking all measures to ensure that the public remains safe from the deadly virus.

   “The public is asked to remain calm, as the government has assured to issue updates on the situation regularly,” the Executive Mansion release added.

   It can be recalled that Liberia was recognized and hailed by the world for instituting early preventive measures against the COVID-19, ranking as “Best at Learning form a Recent Epidemic”. The former head of the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Thomas Frieden, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying, “Liberia, hard hit by the Ebola epidemic in 2014, was one of the first countries to start screening for COVID-19 at airports and to adopt other control measures, such as rapid testing, complete contact tracing and quarantine.”

   In his State-of-the-Nation Address, President Weah dedicated the achievement to the health sector, and expressed an eternal debt of gratitude owed those who placed their lives on the line for others to be safe. “This recognition and praise is reserved for the thousands of medical practitioners, doctors, physician assistants, nurses, mid-wives and all other categories of healthcare workers from all over Liberia,  who place their lives on the line so that Liberians can be safe. We owe them an eternal debt of gratitude that we will never be able to repay.  They are our heroes and heroines!!!  And we say thanks to them from a grateful Nation,” President Weah said in his annual address to the 54th National Legislature.

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