With the increasing decline in the number of Liberians infected with the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, many have told the Daily Observer how grateful they are for all the help that has contributed to the ongoing recovery. They vowed to continue to maintain strict observance of the measures that have led to the remarkable progress in the Ebola fight.
In interviews conducted by the Daily Observer in communities on Bushrod Island yesterday, Liberians and residents expressed happiness over the decrease of Ebola victims in their various communities.
The communities included Bassa Town, Central St. Paul Bridge, Zuma Town, New Kru Town, Caldwell, Logan Town and others in between.
“It’s been several weeks since we last heard the sirens of so many ambulances coming back and forth in our community here in Central St. Paul Bridge,” said a young woman who gave her name as Doris. “It shows that we are winning the fight against Ebola.”
A mother of two, Doris said there were no reports of people in the community dying like they did at the height of the Ebola crisis. “We don’t have situations where infected people or corpses are left on the streets anymore.”
She said there has been no report about people being abandoned by relatives and friends because they exhibit symptoms of Ebola.
At Zuma Town, people were ecstatic when the question was posed, “when was the last time a sick person was referred to the Ebola Response Team?”
“That was long time ago,” said Joshua Sekle, 35. “I mean it was before, but for the past three weeks or more now, nobody here has been referred to the Ebola people.” Though he was excited about the development, he admits that it does not mean the fight against the Ebola virus is over.
In Bassa Town, opposite the Island Clinic, residents told the Daily Observer that no one in the area had been referred to the Ebola Response Unit for several weeks now.
It was the same story in Central St. Paul Bridge. The situation, the Daily Observer was told, has built hope in the people that the fight against Ebola has made progress.
At the Duala Market and locations in Nyuankpanton and New Kru Town, residents interviewed were appreciative of the gains so far, and were unhappy with a WHO report of a possible increase of infected persons in the coming weeks.
“If no one is getting sick,” said a mother of three, Catherine Wolobah, “how can people get sick or how would the number increase?” She wondered, cautioning that “since we are still fighting Ebola, it means we must continue to take measures to destroy it from our country.”
Throughout our investigation, Liberians refused to accept the claim that Ebola Treatment Units are empty because the infected are being hidden in the various communities due to fear of Ebola stigma.
A teacher, 26, who identified himself as Sam said, “It’s unfair for the WHO to insist that many of the sick are being held at home due to stigma. “Everyone is aware that Ebola is real and we take measures to fight it,” said Sam.
In Logan Town, many residents refused to accept the stigma claim.
“We’re aware that the best place for an Ebola infected person is in an ETU and not at home,” Joseph Duweh, 35, said. “No one is afraid to go to an ETU now.”
Though the experts claim that the ETUS are empty because the infected are afraid and remain in the communities, the Daily Observer did not come across any residents who supported that allegation.
It suggests progress as a result of the measures adopted by the Liberian government and its partners to fight the disease, said a Ministry of Health official who asked not to be named. “The decline in Ebola patients at the various ETUs is a positive sign that our efforts are bringing relief to the population,” he asserted.