For Immediate Response against the Ebola Virus

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The Liberia National Red Cross Society, (LNRCS) has made an initial donation of 50 boxes of personal protective equipment and two plastic buckets to the Liberian Government to strengthen response to suspected cases of Ebola virus in the country.

The protective equipment/gear include 100 hand gloves, 20 protective gowns and 20 nose masks found in each of the 50 boxes donated by the Red Cross.

This gesture represents a kick in the shin (the front part of the leg from below the knee and above the ankle) to the deadly Ebola virus. It also serves to confirm that the dreaded disease has indeed made its way across the border and onto Liberian soil.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has confirmed that the virus is in the country. Authorities corroborate (back up, agree) that two out of seven blood samples taken to Lyon, France, for testing, proved positive. The virus broke out on the 7th of February, in The Guinea, where it has claimed many lives.

Ebola is widely spread when a healthy person comes in close contact with an individual who already has the virus. Predictably, thanks to the Liberian Red Cross’ humanitarian mandate, the organization moved swiftly on Thursday, to make one of the first donations to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

LNRCS Acting Secretary General, Fayiah Tamba, said that the initial step taken by his organization was intended beef-up national efforts to help restrict the spread of the contagion, (contamination, infection) locally.

Making the donation last weekend at the Ministry of Health last week, Mr. Tamba emphasized that the LNRCS looks forward to a more coordinated approach with the government in demonstrating preparedness and response to the deadly virus.

He used the occasion to stress the necessity of strengthening the Liberian Red Cross’ statutory, auxiliary role to government, through the provision of substantial financial assistance to support the Red Cross’ work in vulnerable communities.

The Liberian Red Cross is also represented by its National First Aid Trainer Wilmot Jackson and the acting OIC of its Clinic Sarah Browne on the just-ended National training of twenty-five health workers as Master trainers, to roll out emergency preparedness training of responders, in the affected counties.

In response, the Director for Disease Control Prevention at the MoHSW, Mr. Thomas Nagbeh, acknowledged the support of the Red Cross and challenged other partners to support the government with materials that will lead to prompt action, in place of cash.

So far, the situation in Liberia has not been declared an emergency; but there are signs and reports that massive preparation and coordination at the national and county levels are underway.

Health authorities has advised personal care including frequent hand-wash with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rubs, as tips to be adhered to (followed) by the Liberian populace. The public has also been cautioned to avoid bush meat: chimps, monkeys, bats, etc., that are frequent hosts of these viruses (Ebola and Marburg).

Humans contract the virus from infected animals, and spread it from human to human through contact with body fluids or contaminated needles.  Avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing, and avoid contact with infected people (dead or alive). One who dies from the Ebola infection remains contagious.

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