In Ongoing Ebola ‘War’ Each Must Do Their Part

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has rallied every Liberian to act now in the on-going “war” against the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease which is ravishing the nation.

The President spoke to the nation late Wednesday, September 18, evening.

As she urged her fellow Liberians to act, she assured them that her administration will do all within its power to ensure that the scenario in the projections do not come to pass. The projections the President referred to, are going to be made in the next few days by the US’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The CDC will release projections about trajectory of the outbreak based on current trends and data. We have to be realistic about the scope and size of the problem and accept the scientific projections. However, we are hopeful that we do not have to meet those projections. Those numbers will reflect the worst case scenarios, the result of what could happen if we do not take the actions that are required to break the transmission,” the President said.

Few weeks ago, WHO had projected that with the current trend of the disease, at least 20,000 could die from it in the West Africa region.

However, she told every Liberian: “And you, our citizens must do your part. Each one has to be responsible for all because the actions of one affect the health of all. We will continue to ask for international help, but until we take responsibility of this problem as individuals, as families, as neighbourhoods, as communities, as districts, as counties and as a nation, this problem will not go away.”

She pleaded with families of sick Ebola patient(s) to isolate them from others and be given appropriate care. However, President Sirleaf being a mother added: “But we know that for families to see their loved ones being taken where they are not able to follow and be with them is strange and frightening. We also know that to have a case of Ebola in a family can lead to stigma and shame. And so some families hide their sick relatives. They do not take them to the health facility.  They continue to care for their relatives at home, in secret. By doing this, the virus continue to spread — through Lofa, the country’s bread basket, to Nimba, to Monrovia — where we face the largest urban outbreak of one of the deadliest of diseases known to man.”

She disclosed in her address that the disease has now spread to at least 10 of Liberia’s 15 counties, with Lofa far in the north and Montserrado far down south being the hardest hit.

“To date, the number of those affected by the disease has been disheartening: There have been a total of 2535 cumulative cases which includes confirmed, probable and suspected cases. Of these, total of 1,328 have dead. A total of 172 cumulative health care workers have been affected and 82 have died.  We are responding to over 100 children orphaned by the disaster,” President Sirleaf sadly reading the latest statistics. 

Madam Sirleaf further said that in recognition of the scale of the virus her government has enlisted the help of bilateral and multilateral partners; adding: “We will continue to take clear actions and introduce the measures required to break the transmission chain and reverse the spread of the virus.”

She also stated that her administration was not only talking to partners to eradicate Ebola, but was also stressing the need to strengthen Liberia’s health care system in the long term so that “gains in reduction in HIV AIDS, malaria and child mortality be maintained and enhanced.”

Despite the present troubling times for the nation, “there is hope – because a total of because a total of 300 plus patients have recovered free from the virus and gone home.  Yes, there is hope – hope that it is within our individual and collective abilities to protect ourselves while caring for those we love.  I know that we can prevent more deaths by caring for those who are sick properly, as well as preventing ourselves from contracting the disease and infecting the people we love and care about.”

“And so my people, as we tackle this disease, I want you to know that your government will spare no effort. We will do everything that can be done. We will seek every solution that can be sought. No effort will be spared in defeating our common enemy so that we can return to the business of building our country – building a future for our children and our children’s children.”

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