Despite the drastic decline in the case load of Ebola virus infections in the country, the embattled secretary-general of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NAHWAL), George Poe Williams has warned Liberians against complacency in the fight against the epidemic.
At a press conference in Monrovia on Wednesday, Mr. Williams cautioned that though Liberians and their partners have made significant gains in the Ebola war, no one should forget that the war is not yet over.
He, therefore, called on Liberians and foreign-residents irrespective of social status, to continue the good fight to contain the virus until Liberia and the entire West African sub-region is declared Ebola free.
“One Ebola case in any country equals an outbreak in that nation,” he warned.
Mr. Williams’ declaration comes in the wake of a recent affirmation by leaders of the three Ebola hit West African countries to contain the disease within 60 days.
At an extraordinary summit of West African heads of state held recently in Conakry, Guinea, leaders of the three countries worst hit by Ebola, along with their Ivorian counterpart, committed to achieving “Zero Ebola Infection” within the next 60 days beginning last Sunday, February 15.
The commitment, the three Mano River Union (MRU) leaders noted, cannot be achieved in isolation, but with the involvement of all, including the International Community to provide all necessary support to achieve their objective of zero Ebola cases by mid-April.
The NAHWAL S/G then congratulated all health workers who, during the discharge of their duties, contracted the virus, got treated and survived.
NAHWAL describes its colleagues who were infected, but survived, and those who lost their lives in the process as the “true heroes and heroines” and contended that the survivors must be encouraged rather than being stigmatized and discriminated against.
He also urged the survivors to live a positive life by adhering to guidelines to protect themselves and others.
Meanwhile, Mr. Williams commended Liberian health workers both in the private and public sectors, for the “commitment and sacrifices they continue to make to the nation and its people.”
To health workers, he said, “We are aware that some of you are not on government payroll and it has not been so easy with life’s anxieties…yet you keep on because of commitment and passion for the job.”
The NAHWAL Secretary-general and the president, Joseph Soko Tamba, were two top officials of the association that were dismissed by the government last year when they represented their colleagues who were requesting for arrears and other benefits from the government.
Since their controversial dismissals, the two officials have continued to represent the association by seeking their general welfare from the government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.