Ebola Forces Health Ministers’ Confab

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The recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) in neighboring Sierra Leone and the reoccurrence of the disease in Liberia, have forced authorities of Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and their counterparts in the sub-region, to a meeting.

The main theme of the meeting is on the prevention and strengthening collaboration to effectively address the Ebola outbreak, which has now claimed the lives of at least 337 persons in the sub-region.

Guinea remains worst affected, with 264 Ebola-related deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) data showed, as the toll in Sierra Leone and Liberia has hit 49 and 24 respectively.

This meeting is coming in the wake of fresh cases being reported in the three countries.

Liberia’s Health Ministry authorities have confirmed that five new cases have been reported in Lofa County (Foya 3 and Voinjama 2). They also confirmed the death of three in Lofa, with two of it occurring in Foya and one in Voinjama.

It is also reported that three Sierra Leoneans are confirmed positive with the Ebola virus disease in Liberia.

Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bernice Dahn, is representing Liberia at the Conakry, Guinea, meeting, which will discuss and strengthen efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak.

According to health authorities, the meeting will pave the way for a coordinated approach in dealing with critical issues of Ebola prevention and control including surveillance, contact tracing and follow up, case management, and information-sharing in the region. “The delegates will also review current critical issues about Ebola prevention, and adopt a robust approach in containing the spread of the virus,” they said.

As of June 19, the virus has claimed eight lives, bringing the total cumulative deaths to 17; 18 confirmed cases in the country. Three new suspected cases were reported from Lofa County pending laboratory confirmation, the Health Ministry said.

Meanwhile, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has appealed to the public to work with the MOHSW and partners by adhering to instructions from health workers about measures aimed at preventing Ebola, and doing away with fears, panic, stigma, and the state of denial.

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