‘Liberia’s Dark Days Are Over’

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With Ebola rapidly losing ground in the country, the man in the forefront of the fight against the deadly virus, Tolbert Nyenswah, says Liberia has passed the ‘dark days’ when the EVD brought the country to its knees. 

Confirming the tremendous progress made to eradicate the virus from Liberia, Mr. Nyenswah, Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services, said Liberia is now equipped with substantial technical and logistical support and stands prepared to defeat the Ebola virus. 

Minister Nyenswah sounded what he perhaps hopes to be the final battle cry at the recent launch of the “Ebola Must Go!! Ebola is Everybody’s Business” campaign held at the Christ Kingdom Harvest Church in the New Georgia community. The campaign was kicked off by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“In September, we didn’t have the number of bed space; now, we’re fast approaching about 2,000 beds in the country. At the time we didn’t have testing laboratories to confirm Ebola cases; today, we have about nine laboratories”

“Many health workers fell prey to the disease but today, we’ve trained over 9,000 health workers that can do proper infection prevention and control,” he said.

Minister Nyenswah, praised the efforts of both local and international responders to the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.  Their assistance and support have yielded incredible results, he declared. 

  He recalled all the mechanisms that the Liberian government and partners have provided as a vehicle to help communities, pointing out that “What can stop Ebola is community engagement and partnership.”

 Mr. Nyenswah said that they (government officials and international partners) were in the New Georgia community to commend and encourage the good example exhibited by the community members. Since September the community has not reported any new case because of its resilience and persistent adherence to prevention measures.

“You’ve already won the war as a community; but for you to reach the finishing line it’s everybody’s business,” he said, as he urged and pleaded with communities to adhere to the advice of health authorities and healthcare workers to prevent the spread of the virus.

Christ Kingdom Harvest Church in the New Georgia community was selected for the launch for its role in helping the community fight the deadly Ebola virus.  The community lost a total of 12 persons, including five who were victims.

The church subsequently organized community volunteers and went from house-to-house whenever there was a suspected case to find some means to help victims. To date there are eight persons in the community who survived the EVD, including six children who lost their parents. The church has been able to care for the children. 

In her remarks, President Sirleaf praised the efforts of the New Georgia community and termed their fight against Ebola a success story, the result of an effective combination of community and church leaders working with health officials to stop Ebola.

“We want to commend you. We want to congratulate you and we’re here to honor you,” President Sirleaf said.

The campaign is a nationwide effort between the Government of Liberia, partners and particularly the people of Liberia to achieve the national goal of ‘No New Cases’ by the end of the year, President Sirleaf declared.

She indicated that Liberia has made great progress in stopping Ebola but noted that the disease is still in the country. “We all have to intensify our efforts to travel that very difficult last mile,” she stressed.

She ended her appeal with this quotation: “To go from 100 to 90 is hard but to go from 10 to 0 is even harder.”

Everybody knows that, “Ebola Is Real and we’ve now passed that stage, said President Sirleaf.  Now we must highlight that “Ebola Must Go,” she said, adding, “This is why I am joining this community that has been such a strong group in fighting Ebola. We are launching it in a place where they have made a difference.”

President Sirleaf pledged US$5,000 to the church during the launch; while the United Nations Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) pledged US$10,000 to the campaign and another US$1,000 to the community.

The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on UNMEER, Anthony Banbury described the efforts of the community in helping to fight Ebola as “inspirational.”

“It is really inspirational to feel the sense of community effort that exists here in New Georgia. It is also inspirational to see the results of the community to fight Ebola and chase it out of the community – to look after survivors, to care for the sick, to be such a role model for other communities – I am really inspired by it,” he declared.

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