There is an adage: “Jack is drunk but Jack is not a fool”.
That is exactly the case with this mentally ill man, who refers to himself as “50 cent the Diamond Man”.
In the wake of the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the country, coupled with the intense anti-Ebola campaign carried out by the Government of Liberia and its partners on the prevention of contracting the disease, no one is taking the message frivolously.
On Friday August 8, 2014 at the technical office of Cellcom GSM Company in Gbarnga at about 11:25AM, my attention was drawn as a journalist when I caught sight of this insane man reaching into his jean trousers pocket and taking out a small plastic bottle with green top. He began to spray his hand and his entire body with what is believed to be a disinfectant — a chemical that kills the Ebola virus.
It could not be established whether the bottle contained the decontaminator that is widely used by many people to fumigate their hands from the hemorrhagic fever disease, but 50 Cent the Diamond Man was seen spraying both his hands and his entire body with the fluid in the bottle.
“50 Cent the Diamond Man” in his disjointed speech told this reporter that the disinfectant was given him by a community member of Gbarnga whose name he could not recollect.
In his incoherent conversation, the mentally deranged man said he paid a few pieces of diamond to get himself the sanitizer in order to protect his life.
“I bought the bottle with my diamond I am selling around,” 50 Cent the Diamond Man told this reporter.
What he referred to as diamond were stones (rocks) he was carrying around. But it was unbelievable that this mentally challenged man would take the necessary precautionary measures in order to protect his precious life against the Ebola virus disease despite the defiance of the existence of the hemorrhagic fever by some knowledgeable individuals in the society.
In March of this year, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare confirmed the existence of the Ebola virus disease in the country and advised the public to take preventive measures since there is no cure for it.
The Ministry warned the citizens against the consumption of bush meat especially monkey meat, fruit bats and chimpanzee and encouraged them to always take the sick to the hospital.
The World Health Organization has reported that more than 900 people have died from the disease which started from neighboring Guinea and to Sierra Leone and Liberia early this year.
This is the largest of deaths of the Ebola disease since it was discovered in 1976 in former Zaire now Democratic Republic of Congo.
Despite the Government of Liberia’s commitment to its citizens to take the sick at the hospitals especially during the period of this epidemic, the two main hospitals in Bong County are still closed to the public.
Pregnant women who were encouraged to report at the health posts when in labor pain have again returned to traditional practice to give birth out of the hospitals or health centers due to closure of the hospitals.