The president of the Better Future Foundation, BFF, Rev. Augustine Arkoi, says the abrupt imposition of a State of Emergency by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the fight against Ebola without any visible containment plan has the potential to cause not only increased economic hardship, but also panic among Liberians.
Rev. Arkoi said such containment plan should, among other things, guarantee that health workers including doctors and nurses as well as hospitals and clinics that are in the vanguard in the fight against the deadly and incurable Ebola disease in Liberia are provided basic preventive needs and much needed support.
“When our doctors and nurses are not fully protected from being victimized by Ebola for lack of the necessary professional tools, specialized training and motivation for their sacrifices, the currently reactionary approach by the government, including the imposition of the 90-Day State of Emergency, would have little or no tangible positive impact in the war against Ebola,” the BFF president maintained.
Rev. Arkoi also expressed disdain that the State of Emergency was imposed by the government without consultation with civil society and other stakeholders relative to its socioeconomic implications on the vast majority of the Liberian people.
He asserted that rather than imposing a State of Emergency, leading to the militarization of local communities, coupled with its potential infringement on civil liberties, it would have been more prudent for the Liberian government to remain collaborative with its partners and the entire citizenry in sustaining the massive public awareness and education campaign in the country, bordering on how the deadly Ebola disease can be contracted as well as its preventive methods.
Rev. Arkoi: “Government alone cannot win the war against Ebola. It needs coordinated efforts and solidarity of all,” he stressed.
According to the BFF boss, owing to the imposition of the current State of Emergency without prior public awareness, farming and other commercial activities have been disrupted, while farm produce destined for the market are being subjected to rot along the country’ highways as their owners have no access to the market.
“The situation,” he added, “is being compounded by the daily skyrocketing of prices of basic commodities.”
“Indeed, it has reached a point where ordinary citizens who live below US $1.00 a day cannot afford the costs of basic commodities,” said the BFF President.
He also made reference to the recent order to commercial banks by the Central Bank of Liberia to close for three days without creating the necessary public awareness.
Rev. Arkoi observed that CBL took such measure at a time when individuals and institutions were struggling to have access to funds in order to respond to some of the emergency problems created by the Ebola outbreak in the country.
At the same time, Rev. Arkoi acknowledged that Ebola is real and that the virus exists in the Liberian nation.
In this direction, he underscored the need for the Government of Liberia, civil society organizations and other institutions involved in the ongoing Ebola awareness campaign in the country also to make proper use of the various key points contained in the recently issued Ebola Alert from the Center for Disease Control of the US Department of State and the World Health Organization.