The Liberian government and its partners, as well as the Liberian people are gradually winning the fight against the Ebola virus disease (EVD), but there is still much concern, especially in Montserrado County, where over half of the nation’s population resides.
Latest statistics on the Ebola virus disease indicate that there have been only 26 new deaths across the country with most fatalities occurring in Montserrado County, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has disclosed.
The President made the disclosure when she addressed the weekly prayer service for the Executive Branch of Government officiated by the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) last Friday at the old Providence Baptist Church on Broad Street.
President Sirleaf also revealed that as of December 2, 2014, nine of Liberia’s 15 counties have reported no deaths in recent weeks, signaling a drastic decline compared to previous reports.
She attributed the considerable decline in Ebola deaths to God’s mercy. She said the remarkable progress made was also due to the sacrifices made by health practitioners, some of whom lost their lives, and others who took upon themselves to carryout awareness throughout the country.
“We owe it [the progress] first and foremost to God, our healthcare workers – doctors, nurses, physician assistants, those who serve in the treatment units, the many who died, the Liberian people themselves – the thousands and thousands of them who embraced the treatment protocol, as well as the various groups – joint church, non-governmental organizations, women and youth, among others – who went out in the communities on awareness programs. We owe it to them,” the Liberian President told the congregation.
President Sirleaf asked for a moment of silence and for a prayer in honor of all the victims of the Ebola virus disease. “As we memorialize those who are dead, let us also make a commitment to reach out and to show to somebody who’s sick, not necessarily with Ebola, but who’s in need or hungry,” she urged.
She further added that as Liberians approach the Christmas season, “We should remember them and continue to pray to God to give us the strength and courage to keep up what we’re doing and to show gratitude to Him for His blessings.”
The weekly prayer service, according to the organizers, is to thank God for His bountiful mercies on the country and to pray to God for deliverance from the EVD. Already the Legislative and Judicial Branches of Government have separately attended the LCC prayer service.
In an update on the epidemic, the President reported that more than 50 percent of the beds are empty in the Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) built across the country. Although the initial plan was to build 17 ETUs in all, the number is being scaled down, said the President.
The job is not finished, President Sirleaf cautioned; rather Liberians need to keep up the precautions. “We need to continue the awareness; we need to strengthen the communities even more that have taken on the responsibility and the obligation to do the contact tracing, to respond to those who are quarantined.”
“We need to encourage and work with them. Those groups that have been working in the communities, we want to encourage them to continue to do so,” she urged, warning that Liberians cannot put their guard down because progress is never concluded until the experts, the World Health Organization, say the country is Ebola-free.
She stressed the need to rebuild the country’s regular healthcare facilities across the country so that when those who get sick go to a clinic or hospital they will be able to receive proper treatment. This, she termed is the next step in the fight against the EVD.
She also noted that Government has to continue with its economic recovery program to fight poverty, adding, “When people have jobs and an income they are in a better position to take care of their sanitation and personal hygiene, which are necessary to fight this disease.” She expressed strong conviction that Liberia could be Ebola-free by Christmas.
During the service, prayers were offered for the nation, especially the Executive Branch and the people of Liberia, while the choirs of the Providence Baptist Church and the Soul Cleansing Clinic of Jesus Christ offered melodious songs of praise and worship.
In his vote of thanks, Rev. Dr. Kortu Brown blessed God “for what our eyes see, what our ears hear”, noting that God is in control and He will be glorified. Dr. Brown acknowledged that the past few months have been a tough time, but God is tougher.
He has predicted that God will uplift Liberia and urged President Sirleaf to take courage. He noted that there will be many trials and tribulations, but urged the President: “Don’t give up’ keep going on. God will glorify His name in Liberia.”