Civil society organizations Taskforce on Ebola has observed that ‘Ebola is wining’ in Africa, especially in Liberia and have called on the United Nations (UN) and other international bodies to accelerate the deployment of much-needed resources to stem the threat to regional peace and security.
Reading the press statement on behalf of the group in Monrovia Wednesday, September 10, the chairman of the group, Mr. Oscar Bloh said more than 2,100 people are believed to have died from the current epidemic in the country, with hundreds more deaths in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Mr. Bloh noted that many health workers are striking or have abandoned their clinics; relief workers are ill-equipped to contain the virus, and communities lack basic preventative measures like clean water and soap.
“Our hospitals are over-run and under-staffed, fear and panic is sparking violence. Our borders are shut and ships are avoiding our ports. We are running out of food, supplies, everything,” he said.
He continued: “This is the worst ever outbreak of one of the world’s deadliest disease and we cannot tackle this. We urgently need far more help to halt the Ebola epidemic before it spreads further.”
After months of inaction, he said, a number of donor pledges have finally been made, but they fear that it will take too long for government promises to translate to hands-on help.
Moreover, Mr. Bloh indicated that Medicines San Frontiers, also known as Doctors without Borders, is on the frontline of Liberia’s battle with Ebola, but limits on resources mean that its operations are stretched, with only five case management centers and around 400 beds across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
According to him, the United Nations, African Union and all donor countries must provide immediate support to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal while working in a coordinated manner to support medical charities on the ground.
“Donors should provide substantial resources to ensure that infected people are identified, isolated from the rest of the population to curtail the spread of the virus, and given the best quality treatment to help them recover from the virus,” he emphasized.
The United Nations Mission in Liberia should increase police presence alongside the Liberian police to ensure that national security forces implement measures in a responsible manner, which acknowledges and respects Human Rights and humanitarian concerns, he appealed.
“This is crucial to avoid a repeat of the unfortunate death of a teenager who sustained gunshots wounds in recent riots in Monrovia’s West Point community.”
Finally, support should be provided to Liberian civil society initiatives to scale up community education, sensitization and support efforts. This will enhance the capacity of Liberian civil society organizations to contribute meaningfully to slowing down and reversing the spread of the virus.