Liberia Returning to ‘Heightened Surveillance’

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Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Francis Kateh, has told the Daily Observer that the nation will be returning to the status of “heightened surveillance” after the elapse of 42 days without reporting any confirmed case of the Ebola virus.

The countdown to 42 days began after the last two confirmed cases were discharged early this month from the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) Ebola Treatment Unit, along the Roberts International Airport (RIA) highway.

In an exclusive interview recently after Liberia had gone 14 days without any reported cases of the virus, Dr. Kateh, who is also the Deputy Minister for Health Services told our Health Correspondent: “Definitely, we are going to return to surveillance. It should be something that we should always think about in Liberia, because we know from other nations where Ebola has been, it becomes endemic. So we always have to be on the alert, and this is something that we have to do, ” said Dr. Kateh on rekindling the surveillance activities across the country,

“We have to be vigilant in order to make sure that whenever it comes, it doesn’t matter how it comes, where it comes from, we should be able to quickly identify and contain it.” Presently, the entire nation has gone 25 days without a confirmed case. Speaking on rekindling the surveillance activities across the country,

Asked if the country made any errors that allowed the recent outbreak to occur, he stated that Liberia was doing everything right, adding: “Because we are doing the right thing that is why we were able to take charge of it.”

Had we been doing the wrong thing, the virus would have spread out, and we would not have been able to quickly contain it, he pointed out.

“We are doing the right things, but we still want the entire public to continue the hand washing routine and those things which saved us in the past, and will continue to save us,” he cautioned.

Dr. Kateh spoke with our Health Desk following the closure of a two-week training for over 15 health practitioners from various health institutions in the country.

At a request from authorities of the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA) and the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery (LBNM), Dr. Prisca Zwanikken, Dr. Barend Gerretsen and Ms. Dinu Abdella, three instructors from the Netherlands-based Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), conducted the training in human resource management for Liberian health managers, instructors, midwives and nurses.

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