MESSENGERS OF PEACE

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BBC mentioned last week that Ebola response is lethally inadequate. A surge in the Ebola epidemic is expected in the months ahead. In the words of Seema Yasmin, a Professor of Public Health, University of Texas, USA, Ebola Virus Disease is worst than all other outbreak combined. Ebola is grave and is considered an increasing threat to humanity.

Messengers of Peace (MOP) –Liberia recognizes the concerns among Public Health Community that given the inadequacy of our health care system, particularly clinical care, inadequate health care workers and lack of confidence in the health system, Liberia does not stand a fighting chance.  We also recognize that there are simply not enough resources to contain this disease. The Ebola epidemic, according to Dr. William Schaeffer, of CDC, is overwhelming and would require a rethinking of our current strategy.

As young people we need to recognize that this is a serious threat to our social and economic development and one that calls for a comprehensive plan before it is too late.

We need all hands on deck and we need to review interventions that are working against those that are not. Fencing people behind barbed wire and roadblocks at this phase of the epidemic is not working. The outbreak of the EVD will not end until there is peace and calm in the country. We should at this point avoid the use of heavy weapons and enforced quarantines to control the spread of Ebola in Liberia.

Given the exponential growth of EVD in Liberia, we need leadership and calm to urgently address the situation.  Government must commit to improved health care facilities across the country and reopen schools to ensure continuous education of the populace. Payment of salaries for health workers and should teachers should be addressed

The continuous education of the population to recognize Ebola and take action is still very critical. There is an urgent need for geographical mapping of our country for adequate contact tracing, reporting and early diagnosis and treatment.

Community groups should be compensated for their involvement, according to Dr. Joel, G. Breman, “Large amount of money in small denomination can do a lot of good” Community groups and youth based organizations must commit to addressing issues of stigma and discrimination, hiding of sick persons in the community and conducting burials for people who die of EVD.

The media would have to devote substantial time to daily programmes to calm the populace.

Young people must commit to following basic precautionary measures; our first priority being to help stop the panic created by quarantine of affected communities through involvement in education outreach programmes to dispel rumors, allay fears and build trust essential in preventive and control measures. Young people should be mobilized to work as volunteers to deal with the disease.

In the scheme of things, care of self is vital. It is important that we do not touch infected persons and we should avoid contact with people that died of Ebola. We should cultivate the habit of using hand sanitizers, chlorinated water and soap to wash our hands all the time. Unusual tactics in inventive thing will be needed to fight this disease.

We acknowledge with thanks and gratitude the various roles played by International communities like UNMIL, UN Agencies, AU and most recently by the American and British Governments plans to set up field hospitals and deliver much needed medical and other supplies.

In the fight against Ebola, the most important thing is not when, or even why or how you become involved- it’s only that you do get involved. “Liberians are not going to be saved by internationals coming in” said Dr. Bruce Aylward (An Author). He went on to say,” They’re going to be saved by Liberians”.

Until next week, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.

Authors

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