The Senate Thursday went into several minutes of argument and debates over its leadership’s slowness to honor plenary’s request that the Legislature meets with the Executive to decide on emergency funding to fight and contain the Ebola virus.
Senator Frederick Cherue, who led the argument, recalled the magnitude of the spread of the virus, and how a doctor and nurses and other health workers continue to lose their lives due to the lack of protective gear.
“We have heard enough updates from Senator Peter Coleman; what we need now is report from the mandate given the leadership of the Senate to meet with their House of Representatives counterparts. We want to know whether they have decided on how much money is needed to prevent doctors and health workers from being victims of a disease they are fighting to contain.”
Following the debate, Senator Peter Coleman who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Health, said international reports are saying that the rate of those carrying the virus in neighboring Guinea is dropping, while the Ebola cases in Sierra Leone is stabilizing.
Over the last 48 hours in Liberia, Dr. Coleman said, there were four cases — two from Lofa and two from Montserrado — with no reported deaths so far.
He said he has been informed by the Ministry of Health that the budget of US$1.5 million has been submitted to Government.
“On Tuesday, we went to the John F. Kennedy Hospital to look at certain health issues, and President Sirleaf told Minister Walter Gwenigale that the Government has made additional US$100,000 available; we reminded her about the US$1.5 million and that something needed to be done about it. She said she was going to liaise with the Minister of Finance.”
Senator Coleman said the meeting with the Lower House has been arranged, and that he has been working with his colleague in the House of Representatives, who has informed the Speaker; there is the likelihood that the leadership will meet today, Friday.
“Before then, we were monitoring some 50 persons; but now under surveillance there are some 433 persons that need to be monitored, and monitoring these people costs a lot, while putting in place logistics in other counties that are not yet affected require a lot of funding.”