The Late Eric Duncan ‘Must Be Celebrated’

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The Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) wants Liberians and government to celebrate the late Eric Thomas Duncan for awakening them to the growing Ebola crisis in Liberia.

Eric Duncan was the United States’ first diagnosed Ebola case on its soil.

Duncan, an Ebola-infected individual, traveled to the U.S. early September and was diagnosed with the virus when he arrived in the US city of Texas.  Following intense efforts to cure him from the deadly infection, Duncan succumbed to the virus yesterday morning in a Dallas hospital.

Duncan’s case sparked mixed reactions, both locally and internationally, forcing the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to threatened criminal charges against the patient who was struggling for his life in the U.S.

Contrary to government’s pending lawsuit against Duncan, the opposition MPC, through its political leader Simeon Freeman, frowned on attempts by Duncan’s government to ridicule him when it was clear that Duncan contracted the virus due to what he called the “Irresponsible actions on the part of the Liberian government to care for victims of Ebola.”

During a news conference in Monrovia Tuesday, Mr. Freeman declared: “We strongly believe that the lack of ambulances inspired Mr. Eric Duncan to volunteer his help, when his neighbor’s daughter collapsed. His act of sacrifice must be celebrated by Liberians everywhere. We are, however, extremely ashamed that Madam Sirleaf’s failure to provide responsible and sensitive leadership exposed a heroic citizen of Liberia to so much personal embarrassment. We empathize with the Duncan family and offer our prayers.”

Mr. Freeman maintained that President Sirleaf’s action against Duncan was discriminatory and intended to please the U.S. He recalled that following a similar situation experienced by Nigeria when a Liberian official, Patrick Sawyer, transported Ebola to the most populous African state, not even the family of Mr. Sawyer was criticized.  This, said Simeon Freeman, is unfortunate and unacceptable.

He encouraged Liberians to celebrate the late Duncan and keep in mind that Duncan’s action exposed the weaknesses of the Unity Party- led government.

Prior to Ebola, MPC said; “There was about one ambulance to about three hundred thousand persons. Recently, we have seen a minor increase in the number of ambulances to about 15 for Monrovia. There should actually be about one ambulance to every five thousand inhabitants, making it easy to move victims during or without an outbreak.”

He urged President Sirleaf and her government to transform at least 100 of the over 500 plus vehicles in the government’s fleet into ambulances to address the growing needs of the ordinary people.

When that is done and with functioning hospitals and better patient conveyance structures, MPC believes that the rate of re-infection will be greatly reduced.

“Ebola uses time to infect more victims; it is therefore against this backdrop, that the Liberian government must lead the way, using local expertise and resilience to save lives, while simultaneously sharing our deep knowledge with international partners.

While the world struggles for an Ebola cure, Liberian medical practitioners like Dr. Logan, leveraged AIDS antiretroviral drugs to save 13 out of 15 patients.  The bravery of Ms. Fatu Kerkula – was only lifted by a foreign media firm,” Mr. Freeman indicated.

He asserted that flagging such critical issues in the country should have been the propaganda arm of the government, but unfortunately; “It leaves us to wonder at the relevance of tons of money spent on state actors that have become more of a local “attaiye” shop that merely invites speakers rather than doing the right thing.”

During times of crisis, “when the bravery of few are lifted, the many are inspired.  But sadly, square pegs in round holes have led us here and they are best at fermenting problems, talking nonsense and never solutions,” the MPC leader declared.

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