It is not over until it is over. With the trickle in the incidence, that is, the number of new cases of Ebola in Liberia, we certainly have on our hands an unfinished business, there should be no room for complacency and as President Sirleaf rightly admits, “Ebola exposed Liberian’s weak health care system”
When Ebola entered Liberia through our border with Guinea last year, many politicians and pessimists mentioned that the virus would not reach Monrovia, many more had no anticipation of how fragile our health system is and how devastating the Ebola Virus Disease would be.
As we observe a healthy improvement in the number of cases and increase in the number of Ebola survival and as we start to develop post EVD activities based on the UN assessment report of the prevailing situation in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, we need to develop and implement joint border Ebola prevention and control programme. Our borders with our neighbours continue to remain porous and new cases have been reported along the border with Sierra Leone by security forces.
To curtail our unfinished business in the fight against Ebola, we should and must start to contemplate the challenges that we will face once the EVD is halted. The unfinished business besides revamping our health system and putting in place a border control strategy, include but not limited to having a comprehensive and holistic back to school programme, dealing with our struggling economy, addressing unemployment among young people, brain drain, return of expatriates to Liberia, payment of lost wages to our schools teachers among others.
We need to devote some real energy, time and funding to stopping daily discrimination and stigmatization of Ebola survivals, developing programme for the over three thousand children orphaned by EVD and many young people who lost their friends and family members to Ebola.
There is the unfinished agenda to take over and keep the operation of all the new health facilities provided by the American, Chinese and other bi-lateral state agencies in the fight against EVD. We need to start planning for the introduction of Ebola vaccines.
Lest we forget, our post Ebola agenda should address the recommendations from the report on the shooting of civilians protesting against quarantine in West Point. The memory of broken bones of that young boy remains very fresh in our minds.
Until these issues are resolved, the fight against EVD remains an unfinished business. Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia is cautiously optimistic that the disease will be brought under control soon and early than June 2015. Twelve counties are Ebola free and we have just three more to go. This Ebola recovery period is a good time to intensify our collective efforts. MOP-Liberia is doing a compilation of stories and we encourage you to share this with us.
The yardstick for mission accomplished is not when Liberia is declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO), but when the Government and People of Liberia have the capacity to fight EVD on their own without much support from the International community.
Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Our 2014 report card”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.