Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has described as “courageous” health workers who are on the frontlines of the war against the deadly Ebola virus. He praised them for their patience and resilience in handling the outbreak under enormous pressure in a country that has never experienced such a health challenge in its history.
He said the health workers deserve to be commended for what they and our international partners are doing for the nation in these very challenging, demanding and difficult times.
Vice President Boakai was speaking in Congo Town Thursday when he paid a visit to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to extend appreciation to the work of all health workers in the fight against the killer disease and to consult with Health authorities on the road map for the eradication of the virus that has claimed hundreds of lives in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Amb. Boakai said He was working along with international philanthropists to secure supplies that will help boost efforts of Government and international partners in the fight against the Ebola virus. He mentioned that by the end of September three 40-foot containers estimated, at US$1.4 million will arrive in the country with supplies for hospitals and Ebola treatment centers, donated by Reverend Trevor Cockings of His Church, an International Charity based in the United Kingdom.
The VP hailed the role of international partners in the fight against the virus and called for concerted regional approach to rid the region of the disease, adding, “We all have to work as a region to fight the virus,” given the porous borders between the three countries.
Vice President Boakai shared the report of his visit to Bong and Lofa counties, which are dominated by issues of the Ebola outbreak and he spoke of measures to contain the virus as well as challenges facing local health workers in the two counties.
In his response, Health Minister Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale informed the Vice President that an effective protocol for the handling of the Ebola outbreak is being put into place and when completed, will serve as a guide by partners who are coming in to help. He said Liberians have been successful in treating people who were tested and confirmed positive with the virus.
Both Vice President Boakai and Health Minister Gwenigale agreed that the best way out of the Ebola crisis is for Liberians themselves to go out and disseminate the information on the killer disease, rather than outsource the campaign to those who do not know the terrain.
The Health Minister spoke of the enormous challenges that lie ahead in rebuilding the health sector when the deadly disease has been eradicated from the country.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Ministers of the MOHSW.
Meanwhile, Vice President Boakai has consoled the Catholic Church in Liberia for the loss of some of its staff to the deadly virus.
In a meeting at the Catholic Secretariat where he had gone to offer his condolences to the Catholic Church, Vice President Boakai recounted the numerous contributions of the Catholic Church in the health, education and others sectors. He mentioned the A.M. Doggliotti College of Medicine that has been training medical doctors in Liberia for many years and the Catholic Hospital as classic examples of the Catholic Church’s involvement in Liberia’s nation building process.
In response, the Most Reverend Lewis Zeigler, Archbishop of Monrovia, said the Catholics were greatly honored by the visit of the Vice President to the Church’s headquarters and for his condolences expressed. Archbishop Zeigler said despite the criticisms concerning the handling of the Ebola outbreak in the country, the Government of Liberia was doing a great job, given the fact that the nation was not expecting this situation and that the Ebola was something that we know nothing about in Liberia.
He congratulated those who are teaming up with the Government to eradicate the killer virus from the country. He pointed out that all efforts were being exerted to reopen the Catholic Hospital, noting there is a team already on the ground that is assessing the situation and two more are expected in the country soon.
The Health Coordinator of the Catholic Church, Yah Wynn-Gausi, appealed to the Government of Liberia through Vice President Joseph N. Boakai to include all health workers, regardless of where they are assigned, to be included on the list for incentives, just as the government workers.
Vice President Boakai noted the concern and said that health workers throughout the country serve the people and as such they need to be motivated sufficiently because their lives are on the line. He promised to convey their concern to the Government of Liberia.